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The Working Poor

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As the middle class in America continues to be slowly wiped out, the number of working poor continues to increase. Today, nearly one out of every three families in the United States is considered to be “low income”. Millions of American families are finding that they can barely make it from month to month even with both parents working as hard as they possibly can. Blue collar American workers from coast to coast are having their wages decreased at a time when it seems like the cost of virtually every monthly bill is going up. Unfortunately, there is every indication that things are only going to get worse and that average American families are going to be financially squeezed even more in the months and years to come.

The Working Poor Families Project has just released their policy brief for the winter of 2010-11. What they have discovered is that the number of working poor in the United States is higher than they have ever seen it before and it continues to increase at a staggering pace. The following are some of the key findings for 2009 that were pulled right out of their report….

* There were more than 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year.

* Forty-five million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.

* Forty-three percent of working families with at least one minority parent were low income, nearly twice the proportion of white working families (22 percent).

* Income inequality continued to grow with the richest 20 percent of working families taking home 47 percent of all income and earning 10 times that of low-income working families.

* More than half of the U.S. labor force (55 percent) has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since the recession began in December 2007.

Unfortunately, things are not going to be getting any better for the working poor.  In the new “one world economy” that our politicians keep insisting is so good for us, millions upon millions of American workers now find that they have to compete for work with laborers on the other side of the globe that are willing to work for slave labor wages.  This is causing millions of jobs to leave the United States and it is forcing wages down.

Millions of Americans now find that they are making substantially less than they used to.  If that has happened to you, perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  Or perhaps it is not that comforting.  In any event, American workers are not just competing with each other anymore.  Now there is the constant threat that all the jobs could just be sent overseas.

As wages are forced down, a record number of working Americans are finding themselves forced to turn to food stamps and to other government anti-poverty programs.  Millions of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs in order to supplement their incomes.  Millions of others have been forced to take part-time jobs because that is all they can find.

This is all part of a long-term trend.  The numbers don’t lie.  About the only people doing well are those on Wall Street and the very rich.  Nearly every other segment of the population is getting poorer.

The following are 10 statistics that I have shared previously, but I think that they do a really good job of highlighting the plight that the working poor in this country are now facing….

#1 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.

#2 Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.  Meanwhile, our population is getting larger.

#3 As 2007 began, only 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but now 42 million Americans are on food stamps and that number keeps rising every single month.

#4 Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good.

#5 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

#6 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#7 The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.

#8 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

#9 In 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income.  By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.

#10 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

The United States is becoming poorer as a nation even as the boys up on Wall Street are busy grabbing a bigger share for themselves.

We are rapidly becoming a nation that will have a very small privileged class of ultra-wealthy and a very large class of “workers” that is just barely trying to survive.

So is the answer even more government handouts and even more government social programs?

Of course not.

What middle class Americans need are middle class jobs.

But as I have written about previously, the United States is rapidly bleeding middle class jobs with no end in sight.

Globalism has permanently changed the game.  The middle class way of life that so many millions of Americans have been enjoying for so many decades is disappearing.

Just because things were a certain way yesterday does not mean that things are going to be the same way tomorrow.  The long-term economic trends that this column keeps talking about day after day after day are taking us all to a very dark economic place.

But instead of facing reality, our federal government, our state governments and our local governments just keep borrowing massive amounts of dollars to try to paper over all of our problems.

It is not going to work.  Unless something is done to fix our structural economic problems, the economic decay is just going to get worse and all of this debt is eventually going to collapse our entire financial system.

If you are a member of the working poor I wish I had better news for you.  Things are not going to be getting better, and unfortunately millions more Americans will probably be joining you soon.

  • michelle

    It will be even worse when the new ice age hits…probably by 2012…

    Everyone needs to learn subsistence farming, the new career of the 21st century.

  • would like to know to what extent age discrimination is currently or likely to play as far as older (i.e. over 45) employees who have either lost their jobs but especially those who need to make career changes as a factor in the future for these type of people-I as a 55 year old who meets that demographic, am concerned that if there are so many out of work americans whose younger age is not a real concern at least for the near future, am I realistically doomed?

  • Here is some good news. China is much like the USA during the roaring 20’s and even shares some of our current problems. These include excess property (floor space), excess production capacity, a housing bubble, a credit bubble, and inflated asset values. Some analysts believe that currency problems or a trade war will end their economic boom in 2011. This would benefit American workers.

  • Bibi

    Nothing makes a difference anymore. Absolutely nothing. The greatest tragedy of all is that we can bear witness to our demises and even document the millions of decisions and actions that have caused this, but we cannot do anything at all about it, because the people refused.

  • Dano

    “no change, no hope” could well be the new mantra…

  • “We are rapidly becoming a nation that will have a very small privileged class of ultra-wealthy and a very large class of “workers” that is just barely trying to survive.”

    Welcome to the US of… Thailand!

    But at least, in the “Land of smiles”, we constantly enjoy the sun and low prices…

    Having said that, US retail sales keep on increasing, month after month, going back to their pre-crisis levels…


    The money may not be there anymore, but the sickness remains! The consumption frenzy has not relented…

    Click on my name to visit my blog.

  • john w

    Some ideas.
    Our infrastructure is literally falling apart. It has to be repaired at some point, deficit or no deficit. Instead of bailing out the big boys, the US needs a massive public works program to promote employment and to repair roads, bridges, services etc.Go online to see what many think will happen if these repairs don’t begin soon. Write to your congressional representatives – scores of times until they get the message. Encourage people you know to inundate them with the same message. Be polite but annoyingly persistent.

    Another idea. American companies enjoy all the benefits provided by their country but then send all their jobs overseas. Boycott them. Make them feel the pain you fell. If you can find American products that are actually made in America, buy them. If you have the choice between two products, one an American brand and the other a foreign brand but both made overseas, then buy the foreign brand. Send American companies the signal that if they abandon the American middle/working class, we will abandon their products.

    There are lots of problems that are not of the fault of the American middle class, but come one folks, lets stop sleepwalking. For twenty years Americans have been living in a lalaland where all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds and even if we do stupid things or allow others to do stupid things, Santa or the Easter bunny will come and make everything okay. Wake up. Take responsibility for your complicity in our decline and start living a life that makes a difference.

  • Justin

    The obvious fact is that a new society is needed world-wide,. The question is: How to get there? Will the Oligarchy give up their choke hold peacefully? And, if not, what will the reaction of the working class / remaining middle class be? I see resistance in Europe and in some North African nations. But, sadly, the US population seems resigned to live like serfs in the Corporate-controlled, “narrow Democracy.”

    P.S.: It’s not Left vs. Right anymore. It’s Libertarian vs. Authoritarian. Check out the political compass (dot) com. Interesting web page that frames the debate in a different form.

  • g.chambers

    very disturbing articles, what exactly is the solution?

  • It’s becoming an America few would recognize if they came out of their bubble land lives. Many borrowed too much..spent more..and expected the moon….and that includes the criminal financial institutions that held this country up under the fear of “collapse!!” The reality they now face..except those who are politically brutal.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit for details.

  • William

    What to do????

    If EVERY incumbent in the US Congress was voted OUT of office, with no chance of ever being reelected, there would be the change the country needs. If the newly elected in the new Congress did not produce the desired results, vote them OUT. Speaking of change……..Obummer is an empty suit, a zero, a failure. Force the Democrats to run another presidential candidate in 2012.

  • elle

    We are in for the greatest challenge this generation, perhaps even this country has ever seen.

  • Matt

    Its not about Democrats vs. Republicans anymore. Its now the Elitists in both parties vs. Ordinary People of any party. Our problems will be solved eventually when the vast majority of Ordinary People finally realize that it is The Elite that is screwing them and vote out The Elitists. This movement actually began in the last election although the mainstream media won’t tell you this because they are part of The Elite. Washington DC, Wall Street, and Hollywood are the 3 pillars of The Elite that must be and will be taken down by the Oridinary People. To hell with The Elite – let them all burn in hell.

  • Gary2

    Isn’t it pathetic that in one of the richest countries in the world we have so many people living in poverty. There is more than enough money if out bought and paid fir politicians would simply tax the rich and spread the wealth. All the right wants is to give the rich more tax cuts. Pathetic!

    It should also be pointed out, that many people who have lost good paying jobs, have only the prospect of replacing them with lower paying no benefit jobs. How much incentive is there to work three jobs to get near your last income?

    Ironically it’s the same people who have contempt for the unemployed who are the ones gaming the system by outsourcing and union busting.

    I find it hilarious that the right in this country think people should fall all over themselves to work in their dead end job. you get what you pay for America. and right now you ain’t paying ****.

    It should also be noted that these so-called jobs everyone is supposed to be fighting over are now all junk jobs. No benefits, low pay with little or no security or future. But hey, we should all be grateful for the opportunity at what they sycophants are offering right? We should just get three of these menial jobs to meet the almost standard of living we had before the Reagan revolution.

    The rich will never understand poverty. They don’t even understand what it means to do their own cooking, cleaning, driving, carrying their own luggage, worrying about how much something is going to cost, fighting a war or freezing and starving on the street. It’s just a question of how much more we working people are willing to put up with before we finally snap and go after them.

  • Tracy

    they are coming after truck drivers next with the CSA 2010 rules it is estamaited we will lose 250,000 drivers in the 1st six weeks of it then another 250,000 over the next year, now add the rise in the cost of shipping due to fewer drivers on the road to your inflation projections and oppps we got trouble in disneyland.

  • laura m.

    These 21 percent of children living below poverty level, and even more living near the poverty level would have been better off not being born. These sorry loser parents don’t need to breed if they can’t feed. Those living on the dole (food debit cards paid for by taxpayers) just don’t need to breed and pass down more misery; these low life people are selfish jerks.

  • Michael2

    I understand the struggles of working poor and know what poverty means quite well. I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks as they say so for many of us, these struggles are not new phenomenons. I also know there is no other country in the world in which I would rather be poor in than America. We are fortunate enough that our standards for the definition of poverty far exceed almost any other place on earth. I am not saying poverty is good by any standard but in how many other countries can one go into a garbage can/dumpster and find edible food, wearable clothing and monetarily valuable items? Things are crazy; there are a lot of economic injustices, corruption and reasons to be angry and or depressed about but America is still by far the place many millions dream of being in and this is for good reasons.

    Globalism a term I think is (psychobabble-double-codespeak) for global neo-fuedal totalitarianism is a fools errand and I think the philosophies that keep America evolving to a better place ultimately will win. We are paying a huge price though for not being vigilant in defending and nurturing our Constitutional Republic. There may even be coups, revolutionary war and great social instabilities but I think the transcendent truths that constitute America’s constitution will triumph. We have plenty to fear and worry about but I think the globalist oligarchies, international banking cartels-crime families i.e. the IMF and World Bank, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the U.N. and assorted conspirators (mainstream media and the SEC)and politicians have even more to worry about. Reality is quickly contrasting the financial absurdities and injustices of so called “Globalism”.

    All across Europe, Asia and in parts of Africa a push back against Globalism has been occurring and intensifying. As the illusions slip away here in America more and more people are waking up, realizing they are being treated just like many nations of the so called Third World or “Other World” as a recent college course I took termed them. I see no easy transition into a complete globalism scenario where the U.N. or some sort of new institution a “Global Congress or Parliament” can govern the entire world. Globalist financial agendas have already pushed most of the world up to the edge of chaos. It is absurd for the elite to think they will inspire or force the majority of people on earth to believe in even more of their conjured financial schemes as solutions for problems their schemes created in the first place.

  • Brent

    I am now a member of the working poor. I only make $9.50 an hour, but I am very thankful to even have a full time job here in Las Vegas. I have learned to live with less. My house and 2 nice cars are long gone. I now live in a tiny studio apartment and drive a 20 year old Ford Escort. Still, I know others are doing much worse so I accept what I do have, not what I don’t.

  • Progressive Ed

    Of course, much of this can be attributable to the tens of millions of Mexicans who have come illegally to America.

  • Lennie Pike

    It does suck to be one of the working poor I know.

    What’s going to suck worse is going to be when the U.S. Constitution is completely thrown out the window due to lack of protest, and all of our freedoms are gone.

    The types of people that will be deciding everything for you, hate you. They hate everything and everyone. Just take a look at that face on Janet Nepolitano and all the others. Those facial expressions (along with their actions) speak volumes. Listen up docile flock!!!!

  • Lennie Pike

    If total consumption in the U.S. is increasing every year, it is only because the number of immigrants (legal and illegal – there is no difference – they all are here to take your job at a lower cost to traitor employers) IS DRASTICALLY INCREASING EVERY YEAR!!!!!!!!

    These new arrivals also don’t understand a thing about freedom, our Constitution or history, or the reason that the right to bear arms is a great right to have to prevent a takeover by a tyrranical government.

    These people will be voting very soon. For only five votes short in the Senate they would be already. You were lied to by everyone about what was in the recent immigration bill – I read it – everyone would be legal not just student, military volunteers, etc.

    The first cop that pulls me over that can’t speak english – one of us is going to have a huge problem.

  • Another outstanding report and a real thanks for putting out the truth on this and many others issues and problems the USA and the world is having. My friends, there is nothing that can be done to fix our current structural economic problems now, we have went past the point of no return!!!! Watch very closely in 2011, and you will see the unraveling of our financial system take place right before your eyes. In the crash of 1929, thousands of millionaires jumped out their 5 to 10 story windows to their death because they could not handle the loss, today there are more millionaires and people who have wealth than ever before, suicides will become a common news item on a daily basis!! Get prepared today!!! Glean everything you possibly can from this site and help yourself and family before it’s too late!!!

  • bob

    Heres some food for thought. As we move from a post industrial society to a service orientation, income levels will fall, even more. People in high income jobs, will lose them as they near retirement, who wants to pay them? Replace them with cheaper workers. The first wave of that happening was in 93′. But what has this to do with anything?? House prices will fall, why, lower income, no one can buy a house at their current prices. Expect to see them come down 50% or more in the next 5 years. There are no jobs to support high real estate prices. Incomes have to be on parity with re prices and they are still way out of line. With banks having 4 million homes in foreclosure, plus whats on the market, guess what, home prices will not go up only in a very select market. Once those high income jobs are gone, prices will be in free fall.

  • mondobeyondo

    Just goes to show that having a job, or even a university degree, is not a ticket to success. Most people I know are very hard working, and very dedicated to their careers (and in many cases, jobs. A job is not necessarily the same as a career). Many of these people have dedicated years of high level education, financial sacrifice and years of employment.

    Naturally, none of that matters to the big shot corporate executives. Your boss might be a money-grubbing a-hole, who thinks you’re just added baggage that’s cutting into profits they could use to buy a new BMW or “business trip” to Monte Carlo.

    Or your boss may actually be sympathetic, and have a heart. He/she might actually hate to tell you “you’re fired!” – but they have to balance their ledger sheets and budget. And small business owners in particular, they have families to feed and bills to pay too. My last boss actually cried when she told us she had to shut down the business. She couldn’t make ends meet, simple as that.

  • Statistics no. 6 and 8, above, nearly floored me, just by themselves.

    And Nero isn’t even warming up his fiddle yet, in Washington.

    No one seems to be paying much attention to us out here.

    Thanks for this, btw. I reposted on my blog.

  • Vida

    I’m curious as to who/what website/what study did you get these stats from? Some of them sound reasonable but #5 and #6 make me raise my eyebrows in skepticism.

  • Louise in MO

    There should not be the term “working poor” in this country! And, twenty-one million children living in poverty in America is a tragedy of which we all should be ashamed!

    I spent time thinking about what I could do to help people who live in terrible circumstances and those who have lost everything through no fault of their own.

    When I shop for groceries I shop for others too. I buy things that are on sale and items that most people will eat and use. There are food pantries everywhere! I do not purchase anything that we don’t absolutely need.

    I have friends that are now part of the working poor, and in a couple of cases cannot find a job anywhere. When we can we help with their utility bills.

    It does no good to just read and complain about what is happening all around us. Help in anyway you can! Don’t for God’s sake let people go hungry.

  • Otown Right Guy

    Most of the so-called “working poor” are just plain stupid. If they educated themselves and saved money instead of buying Budweiser and lotto tickets, maybe they wouldn’t be so poor? America has become a very, very stupid country. How else can one explain the ascendancy of Obama on the left and Palin on the right? We have become an anti-intellectual, NASCAR and American Idol watching bunch of mouth breathers. Twittering and Facebooking mindlessly while slobbering and shoving fast food down our throats. Ignorant of our own history, to say nothing of the world’s, we accept increasingly hostile government at all levels. We cheer on every insane war launched in DC, “Kill them towel-heads!”, we shout. This can only get worse.

  • schwartzer

    Ending the Federal Reserve bank would be a start. Read America’s forgotten war against central banks by mike hewitt online. Then discuss.

  • Perry

    An easy thing we can all do is stop shopping at China-mart and the other big-box junk suppliers. I know these are our favorite stores and they do provide tens of thousands of part-time minimum wage jobs, but really, do you really want that cheap junk they sell? If we started buying American made products we may actually see some manufacturing jobs that pay a living wage return to your home town.

  • IKeepYellingAnyway

    The system won’t change if we keep taking part in it. STARVE THE BEAST. for example:
    Buckle up & drive the speed limit — deprive local govt of income from tickets.
    Pay cash for everything; don’t use “reward cards” — live below the radar. If you can do a web “search” for yourself & not find yourself, GOOD.
    Do not donate to 501c3 places…unless it’s in cash, & then get a receipt.
    be self-employed, & actively encourage barter.
    Network. Use Freecycle , Craig’s List, etc.
    Learn essential skills — like plumbing, roofing, welding. Offer your current skills for lessons in new skills.
    learn herbal medicine; stay well without feeding the HealthCare Industry beast.
    grow something. In a closet-size apt u can grow herbs; do it! trade them for other things.
    Go to dental schools for dental care, when possible, instead of a dentist. Same for car repairs.
    Practice self-sufficiency in as many aspects of life as u can. Change your own oil, mend your own clothes, be content with less.
    At yard sales & thrift stores, be friendly; u never know when they will have something you need.
    Promote use of Dollar Coins, & use them yourself; it eats into the Fed’s coffers somehow. (how, is a topic for another time.)
    See if your local businesses would accept an alternative local currency.
    Don’t always decide on something based upon “is it illegal?”, but “is that law unConstitutional? is that law against my conscience?” Do not fear, but do think.
    Don’t get your kids vaccinated; it causes learning disabilities & health problems.
    If at all possible, homeschool. The more you stay out of the system, the better. Starve the Beast. Blend in by appearances, be invisible in your actions.

  • OK, I know I’ve been an economic Survivalist all my life, but I’ve been saving and investing since I was 17 (mainly because I learned as a kid that you can’t trust anybody, or any system, for that matter).

    As “FerFal” in Argentina says, “Use your head, people!” There’s all kinds of ways to make money, using economic decline/collapse to your advantage. Some have gotten wealthy during periods like this. When I got the warnings about the derivatives time bomb back in 2006, I got out of all publicly-held investments, and paid-off the house.

    I get tired of all the whiners at this website.

    Use your head people, and learn how to hussle! I’ve always used periods like this to my advantage. My financial situation has gotten better-and-better, throughout my adult life. Going backwards is not an option.

    Let’s see…continually increasing defense budget (not that I agree with it, but there’s nothing I can do about it). As a military reservist, I know 20,000 more troops are going to Afghanistan, so there’s unit backfilling (and lots of gov’t per diem) that will be needed (I learned at a young age where all the money in this country goes: The military! Me, I gave up on the civilian economy back in 1994, working as a civilian for Uncle Sam).

    I’ve noticed at the gun shows, nationwide, that people are still buying weapons and ammunition. Looks like a business opportunity there too!

    If people are suffering out there,…wah. Mine started when I was abondoned, at age 11, and dumped into CA’s foster care system. Got to spend the rest of my childhood as a second-class citizen. I’ve already lived through my period of collapse. Time to reverse roles, IMO.

    Also, if you’re one of these do-gooder, “Transition Town” types, you’re going to die, either economically, or literally.

    Oh, and if you’re wandering house-to-house, looking for food in the near future, don’t come by my place. You might get lead, instead (or, if you’re lucky and good looking, you can join my post-collapse harem, and help keep my happy).

  • dan17

    globalism is global plantation.

  • Dishy

    I am part of the non-working Poor, tho it feels like Im working harder than ever, trying to start a business, putting all my heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears into it and not making nearly the 70K a year I was making just 2 years ago.
    I would like to point out to laura M that 2 years ago we were a family that made more than 170K a year family with 1 child we had 15 years ago when things were ok, then with the dotcom boom, we were doing really well, and bought into the american dream of owning a house, which we bought with a very responsible 30 year fixed, and now we are the people in the news that cant afford our house, and are going to have to move in with my family in another state. Most of the new “working poor” and 99ers and under-employed are all just like us, good responsible people who are being ground down by the lack of available jobs in any kind of field matching up with our skills. If they start up public works projects, what are the people like me who are in their late forties supposed to do? go work labor jobs? I have bad knees and im certain I wouldnt be able to do it.
    Hang on tight, there are a lot of folks who think just like that, who are in a for a rude awakening. It is a lot closer to home, and getting closer all the time.
    The best solution it to hone a skill(not resume writing or life coaching) a real skill, like sewing, gardening, mechanics, fine woodworking, and trade, barter, reduce recycle and face the new reality with pride. Thats what Im doing!
    Thanks for letting me rant a bit.

  • jim biggs

    im sorry, but this article is bump-kiss, and i will explain why.

    this article is making its calculations concerning income , and the availability of this income to be finite.

    It assumes that there is a predetermined amount of income, and that a percentage of the population is receiving more than its ” share”

    A better explanation of income, and why it is dispersed the way it is a little more than “equality”

    to start, there is no “total sum” of income, and the limits of your personal income comes not from some inequality but from different results of effort, and from regulations..let me explain.

    all men are created equal. what this means is everyone gets to the starting block the same way. after that things are not equal.

    the only thing that should be equal, is that everyone follows the same rules.

    some people work harder, some people are smarter, some people get lucky, some people struggle.

    guess what im trying to say, is success is not guaranteed, but the opportunity to succeed should be equal

    instead of looking at the end game, and looking for variences, we should be looking at the beginning and finding out what is preventing people from having the same opportunity.

    thirty yrs ago, our county had a strong industrial sector, that created jobs, and learning opportunities for fresh workers. the more you learned, the more you made.

    what happened to those industries? well to make it short, government red tape, regulations, and unions forcing the cost of industry to go up, thus raising the prices of products.

    what did the consumer do?……..they bought cheaper items (mainly from china)

    this forced industry to close their doors, or go over seas

    i would not mind debating this more, but its getting late…i will respond to any debate happily.

    all men are created equal, but reach the finish line in their own way

  • Lennie Pike

    Following up my last comment – I already have had the blood pressure skyrocketing experience of being un-Constitutionally detained at the Miami airport by U.S. Customs and Immigration for an “interview” (interrogation) by a U.S. Immigration Agent who could barely speak English. I had to repeatedly ask him to repeat himself to understand. Once I did understand, my response was “either arrest me or allow me to leave, you are violating my Constitutional rights according to the 4th Amendment. I was lucky, after a lot of threats and attempted intimidation (I am a taxi driver, ex-heavy construction worker, and ex-professional blackjack player so good luck woosie, I was allowed to leave.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if that one was in the U.S illegally and given the job illegally. The One Worlders couldn’t care less about our laws, and they are in charge of you now since you allow it.

  • Ann

    Screw economic strategists, saying we must do this or that to make ends meet. It’s a distortion of reality; “we” don’t need to do a damn thing, if we had a “democratic” government in the true people sense of the word – not a government controlled by corporations who dare not change the status quo (why should they? They’re doing great!), who don’t want to see real change. We were fed campaign lies from Obama, who by the way, did not create billion dollar bailouts. Obama has continued supporting the fictitious war on terror just as his predecessor – if WikiLeaks has revealed anything, it has revealed the USA war in the Mideast is a continuation of terrorism, not its end. But, the “endless war” is great for the industrial-military-complex, isn’t it – just ask Cheney. Obama is only part of the system that has ongoing for about 50 years. We need real structural change, not a band-aide here and there.

  • Dishy said…
    “Most of the new “working poor” and 99ers and under-employed are all just like us, good responsible people who are being ground down by the lack of available jobs in any kind of field matching up with our skills. If they start up public works projects, what are the people like me who are in their late forties supposed to do? go work labor jobs?”
    Please re-read your own post and realize how terrible you sound to people LIKE me—creative, intelligent, but a “laborer” nonetheless. So I can bust MY hump (hey, my knees hurt too!) but you can’t?
    Attitudes such as this will not be sustainable.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    two points:
    The “income inequality” arguement is a red herring and just another example of politicians trying to confuse the issue. The rich will always be rich. They are NOT why we are going through hard times.

    When anyone claims Americans have fallen below the “poverty line” do not forget that in America “poverty” is defined by two cars, three color tv’s, air conditioning and about $30,000 a year in welfare benefits.

  • Tim

    And Republicans have given a tax break to the rich! Most only pay 15% as their incomes are derived from capital gains. Yes a hedge fund nanager making 10 million a year is subject to just 15% taxes!

    Republicans dont just hate gays and hispanics, they hate the middle class.

  • Gary2

    There us a big difference between absolute poverty and relative poverty. Comparing poor Americans to poor people in other countries means nothing and shows a gross lack of critical thinking skills.

    Different subject: I am one of the very underemployed. I work hard for my low wage and grew the business at that location by 119% in one year. I say mainly me as it is only me and one other employee who was there b4 I started. My company is making a ton of money off my being very over qualified. When and if things turn around payback will be brutal. These low wage service jobs will get a much lower skill set person and will maybe wake up to the fact that good employees are worth more than they currently pay them. Again-this is not an opinion. My branch where I am the manager has grown by 119% due to my being so overqualified for the position.

    No matter who/where I work I will always give 100% but I would like to be paid a living wage.

  • Gone With the Wind nailed it:

    “When anyone claims Americans have fallen below the “poverty line” do not forget that in America “poverty” is defined by two cars, three color tv’s, air conditioning and about $30,000 a year in welfare benefits.”

    At my poorest moment, when my son was very little, I remember having a car and a truck, one color TV, one small B&W, and a VCR (favorite movies being post-apocalyptic, of course). Oh, and cable.

  • There will only be 2 classes: rich and poor. No more middle class. Do yourself a favor and start accumulating some poor man’s gold, which is Silver : Silver Dollar Values
    You can also buy gold coins online too but with all these poor folk growing in numbers, most will have to stick to silver.

  • mondobeyondo

    For many working poor, it is much more circumstances than stupidity.

    Many of them got dealt a bad hand in life. They try to make up for it by playing the lottery, which doesn’t work 99.99% of the time.

    And many of the others turn to drugs or alcohol. Anything to escape their misery.

    Yes, there are still many others who are leeches, and are happy to suck off of the mothers’ milk of government assistance for the rest of eternity.

    But lots of people out there are decent hard working citizens who are down and out, and just want a chance to get back on their feet. Even half a chance would be great.

  • mondobeyondo

    Correct. Success is not guaranteed.
    The Constitution grants you “life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness”. It does not guarantee happiness.

    The happiness part is up to you. And that is the beauty of it. You have the freedom to do what makes you happy. If you want to be an IT professional, a figure skater, a butcher, an artist, an accountant, NFL player, lawyer, farmer, whatever – you have the freedom to pursue it. You are not condemned to be a professional carrot grower for life, if that is not what you want.

    What is NOT fair, is for the people in charge to change the rules in front of our collective eyes. A little bit of economic manipulation, and voila! Being a construction worker won’t pay the bills and feed your children anymore. Wanna know why? Because there’s already more older houses available to purchase – in fact, too many! There’s a huge backlog of pre-existing, um, foreclosed real estate. Why should you be employed building new houses? Pink slip time.

    Guess you’ll have to settle for being a Wal-Mart employee, huh? (Cheer up, be happy! You have a job!)

    In other words, all men are created equal, but some men are more equal than others.

  • Wake up America. We don’t have to live like this if we start using our heads. There is a better way. When you’ve had enough of this colossal mess, open your eyes.

    Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

    We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

  • jim biggs

    to morpheous

    no thank you and i believe i speak for most Americans………the progressive ” bill of rights” given by man, and hence can be taken away by man, can not compare in any way to the BILL OF RIGHTS we already possess.

    what you are offering is a utopia of wishes which at first look are nice and full of feelings but you must ask yourself one question


    how will the population afford all of this? As it is we cant afford what the federal government now spends, and what you propose will cost much much more

    and seeing that less than half the population pays federal taxes, while the majority pays none, who do you propose to raise taxes on? the rich?

    and what then happened to all the cries of equality?

    what that website describes is the progressive utopia of the 1940s and can more aptly be described as the failed policy tried right before ww2……how did that turn out?

    i have no idea what your comprehension of the original design of our founding fathers, but i can agree that our present situation is not working…..primarily because we have as a nation strayed from the original design and intent of the founding fathers.

    but what that website describes is nothing short of the socialist agenda with pretty names no thanks

  • Don Levit

    Jim Biggs wrote:
    We should find out why people don’t have the same opportunity.
    I agree with that statement.
    How much time do you think we have, when 70% of our GDP comes from consumers, and 10% of households own 73% of all financial wealth?
    Those 10% are going to have to do a lot of consuming.
    Remember when consumption used to be a disease?
    Don Levit

  • GoneWithTheWind

    It doesn’t matter if Oprah Winfrey make $300 million a year or Johhny Depp makes $75 million or Tiger Woods makes $100 million a year. It does not take a penny from you. What you can earn is limited only by yourself not by what someone else earns. ALL wealthy people invest their money which in our economy is better then if they were to spend it. Our economy is good BECAUSE there is so much investment in it. If we didn’t have those rich people our economy would be worse.

    Make no mistake; the current bad economy is NOT because of something rich people did or didn’t do it is a direct result of our government’s misuse of power and unconstitutional laws, rules and regulations. If our federal government would limit itself to those things that the constitution rewquires them to do and allows them to do our tax burden would be cut in half and our citizens would be allowed to keep more of their hard earned money. For most people in the middle class taxes take more of their income then anything else does.

    One of the great things about America is anyone can become wealthy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that raising taxes on the welathy will solve YOUR problem. All it will do is limit the ability of other citizens to ever become wealthy. Don’t let greed and jealousy allow you to support the effort to punish the successful so that you can subsidize the unsuccessful.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    If you live in Canada and want to visit a Third World country, you don’t have to go far. Just head south and cross the border; you will be entering a Third World horror movie called The Banana Republic of America, formerly the USA.

  • Gary2

    “and seeing that less than half the population pays federal taxes, while the majority pays none, who do you propose to raise taxes on? the rich?” jim biggs

    Yes-tax the rich hard. You do not take into account all taxes. You simply do what right wingers always do and cherry pick “facts” Everyone pays about 20% in taxes when all is said and done so no the rich DO NOT pay their fair share. And yes there is a pre birth lottery where how wealthy your parents are is the best determinate to how well you will do. We do not even come close to starting at the same line in the begining.

    How can so many people be so dense to not know this?

    GoneWithTheWind-your lack of facts and any critical thinking is almost beyond pale.

    Wealth buys power and the rich control government to serve their interests usually at the expense of the middle class/working. poor. Are you really this clueless?

  • Gary2

    El Pollo de Oro-Happy New Year! I am looking forward to reading your insights in the coming year! They are spot on.



  • jim biggs

    @ gary 2 greed and envy is a countries biggest enemy

    i would ask you to do a simple research project, and it should only take a few minutes of your time

    go to your irs office, and inquire of the tax rates for every bracket

    then go to the state tax board and get their tax rates

    then go get the tax rates for local municiples

    and then get the property/ school taxes

    now add up each bracket from each taxing agency

    why is 50% to 60% of ones income a legitimate amount of tax for some, while the large majority of the population pays so much less?

    and to top it off, the programs a lot of this tax money is spent on is designed and intended to be directed at the population that pays very little

    so you have no problem with taking money legally belonging to one, and give it to those who didnt earn it ?

    this is called theft, and no other description will fit this

    and who are the ones complaining the loudest, and demanding that the “rich” give up more of their money to pay for these services?

    the ones that put little or nothing into the “pot”

    i think our tax system should change to a flat tax, or purchase tax.

    everyone pays 15% when they purchase an item, that way we all have a horse in the race

    when the rich buy that million dollar doodad, 15% is tax
    when joe schmoo buys that 10$ shirt…15% tax

    and those that are at or below poverty are exempt, but are required to volunteer some sort of work every yr.

    if i can be making less than 20 grand a yr , and find the time to volunteer every week at my local fire dept. so can all the rest of us

    this will remove the unfairness from the equation, the next step would be a balanced budget amendment to the constitution thus preventing these insane deficits ( and make sure there are no loopholes or exceptions save time of war, which must be Congressionally voted with unanimous agreement.

    and to your comment of being born “rich”

    again envy and greed destroy

    yes some kids are born to wealth, and some are not. so what was ones parents doing, while the others were working to provide?

    not claiming that the others where lazy per-say, but that is a lame argument on your part.

    the opportunity for everyone to succeed is still there, some have succeeded in previous generations, and passed the fruits of their labor to their offspring, while others have squandered it away

    others were born into a poor family, and have become wealthy by working hard.

    and still others will stay where they are financially, but none of them are forced to remain in that position.

    Again wealth is not a final sum game there is not a finite amount of wealth out there, so get up and go make yourself some wealth.

    its hard…i know ive been unemployed since march, so ive started “again” my own business after quite a few failures in the past, but since im not working ……..what do i have to lose? i may succeed, i may not, but its my future, and my families future, hence… my responsibility

    ok im done rambling on lol

    have a happy new year

  • William

    “Middle Class” is not disappearing, but becoming a stage of the majority of people’s lives they experience from age 20-25 lasting to 55-60. Divorce, family sickness, and extended job loss reduces people’s years in the ‘middle class’ stage. A lucky segment make it through their live ‘downsizing gracefully’, as it’s called. Some luckier have considerable wealth. Majority will be forced to retreat to ultra-cheap small towns and stop rotating cars, clothes, and furniture every few years.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Gary2 in Wisconsin: Gracias, guay! Feliz año nuevo to you too. I keep hoping that in 2011, my grim forecast for the future of The Banana Republic of America (BRA) will be proven wrong. I keep hoping that the country’s economic situation will greatly improve and that the BRA will cease to be a banana republic and go back to being the USA. But unfortunately, I’ve been right so far. Back in 2006 and 2007, I predicted that the country was headed for a major economic calamity…….check. I predicted that the BRA would be looking more and more like a Third World country……check. So I can’t help but expect the absolutely worst for the BRA in 2011, but I sure hope I’m wrong.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Oops, I meant to say “expect the absolute worst,” not “expect the absolutely worst.” But again, I hope I’m wrong. Unlike Rush “Pillhead” Limbaugh, I don’t want the country to fail. It probably will, though. God help The Banana Republic of America.

  • Gary2

    Jim Biggs-if all you can say is greed/envy then I must be correct as you did not even come close to addressing what I said. Let me try again. When you factor in ALL the taxes (sales/federal/ssi etc) everyone is paying about the same. The rich do not even come close to paying their fair share.(FYI-renters pay property tax it is part of the rent as another example of taxes the poor pay). Advocating a flat tax shows a real lack of critical thinking.

    I do not consider taxing the rich to be theft. It is NOT their money. They have stolen it from working people by not giving productivity increases and pocketing them to fuel their obscene salaries (CEO’s make how many hundreds of times the lowest worker now vs in the past. They did not get 100’s of times smarter they rigged the system to their benefit and to the workers expense) They have stolen government by their outsize wealth/power to pass laws that benefit them at the expense of the rest of us. (hedge funds only pay 15% on their “capital gains” when everyone knows this is income would be one example of the rich rigging the system to benefit them at the expense of the rest of us.

    It can’t by definition be theft if you are taking back something someone stole from you.

    Happy New Year to you too!

  • Gary2

    PS-WE need to tax the greedy to help the needy!

  • GoneWithTheWind

    Golden chicken: “Rush “Pillhead” Limbaugh” did not say he wanted the country to fail he said he wanted the “Marxist in Chief” to fail. Sadly the Marxist in Chief succeeded and we have record deficits and an extrodinary debt. He has paid off all his cronies and committed all of us to poay the bill. We would all have been better off if the Marxist in Chief had failed.

  • mickey

    Remember that funny little guy with the big ears who was running for president years ago..Ross Perot, He mentioned that all of these horrible trade treaties (enacted and supported by government criminals who were paid off by foreign governments to make these deals…which is TREASON) would create a giant sucking sound as all the jobs and wealth were sucked out of this nation… The solution is three part…First, demand that everybody in washington DC revoke all free trade agreements…then enact a teriff of at least 50% on everything imported into the USA from anywhere…there is your fair tax for all Americans..if you buy something that says made in the USA…you don’t have to pay the imported junk tax… The World Trade Organization, the G-20 and all the rest of the internationalists will have to accept a simple answer to all of their complaints..”go pack sand” Next, on a personal level, when you go shopping, do not buy foreign made stuff…If you have no choice since none are made in the USA…buy a used one so your wealth does not leave the country…with the teriff and a refusal by Americans (stop calling us consumers..which means in worthless eaters which is an elitist insult to us all) to buy their forign made stuff, some enterprizing Americans will start to make stuff here again..who knows, if the big companies wanna play ball and do business here, they may move factories back the the USA if they cannot make a profit with their foreign slave labor anymore.. Next…tell the US businesses that they can reduce their tax rate dollar for dollar by spending it on R@D that is patented and manufactured inside the manufacturing patent protection here..
    Sadly, most of you are sheep and do whatever the shepard or his dogs want you to do.. so slave away your lives, live in greater and greater poverty, be afraid of everything since loosing your job means that you loose your house, family and car and any chance for retirement… be afraid little sheep to get sick or have an accident, because the shepard will force you to sell your soul with the rediculous massive hospital and medicine bills because we are too stupid here to understand that access to healthcare (being able to afford it does mean access you fascists) is a basic human right…so umm why exactly are hospitals a money-making business? how about doctors practices that are corperations.. why does the insurance lobby take a cut of the loot too?? Well anyway, since you cannot afford it..just allow the shepard to slit your throat and put you out of your misery little sheep…you will loose everything anyway, so why not just accept the fact that all you are is a worthless eater who produces nothing, is a joke to the truely wealthy..So just accept the fact that all you are good for is the solyant green factory… Sadly, the most pathetic sheep are the ones called republicans..thay are so stupid that they think they need to defend the exclusive rights and tax cuts of the super-wealthy…thinking that includes them…you fools…If you are making less than $100K A are not wealthy and likely never will be..the wealthy who are getting all the extra breaks paid off the politicians to ensure it..they also bought the media and the commercials that fire you up to protect the wealthy from paying any taxes..idiots..the people who are not paying taxes have plenty

  • Devil’s advocate

    Gary I agree the rich get away without paying there share and many have stolen that money.

    My problem with your solution is in giving a highly corrupt government more money from any source.

    What makes you believe they will not continue to enrich there corporate handlers?

    I don’t think you or Jim can see your real enemy. The money systems have been designed to only grow and expand through debt. We were reduced to a system of debt slavery before you were ever born. The real rich control the money and everyone else is poor. The left will try to cause class division with numbers like those earning over 200k.

    American’s complain about CEO’s making 200 million a year or Wal Mart’s slave labor of cheap Chinese crap but they don’t stop patronizing these companies. Why would any American living on the Gulf coast buy BP gas?

    The argument that everyone can succeed in America or anywhere is totally ignorant. We will always need people to take out the trash as well as every other lowing paying vital job that keeps society running. Government regulation written by and enforced by the biggest corporations have destroyed the free market. Did you know the AMA limits the number of doctors in the US while we have such agency limiting attorney’s?

    The best way to shed the chains of debt slavery and government corruption is by losing faith in there fiat currency (US Dollar) and putting your faith in local debt free currencies as has been done successfully in our past.

  • Bert

    There has been an ongoing war on the middle class for decades as more and more people receive money from the government. Contractors, government employees, special interest groups, foreign aid, welfare, disability are all bleeding the working class that actually creates wealth, to death. There are more takers than givers, as the 14 trillion dollar debt shows.
    The government needs to shrink and grow with the economy until their budgets are balanced, just like the rest of us have to. They have one set of rules for them and theirs, and the taxpayers live by another set, real world rules and laws of economics.

  • G45

    Jim Biggs: Taxing the rich “more” is more fair because they benefit more from public services. Their workforce is educated by public institutions, their holdings are protected by publicly funded emergency services, they make use of the infrastructure that the public pays for.

    The more you use, the more you pay, doesn’t that seem fair?

    Outside of fairness, consider simple pragmatism. This is a necessary mechanic to keep the country functional, no man is an island, they can’t just hoard stuff for themselves and not expect it to affect others(members of the society they live and work in).

  • James

    The American people have to realize that they still have a of power in their hands. First, we need to build up our small farm sector and just buy locally. This will start up an economy that would be supported by local people buying from local farmers. These farmers and people who use the products produced by the farmers, will start to use each others resources and labors to build up a local economy that won’t be controlled by the Big Corporations or the U.S. Government. Grow foods that can be minimally processed or used directly by humans for consumption. Local food processors can process the produce grown by local farmers, and also provide local jobs. Bartering should be re-introduced as a way to provide items that local people would want or need. Bartering can also be used to prevent having to pay taxes since these items can’t be valued at any particular price, or the act of bartering can be done in private. The government with all of its financial problems, would find it difficult to hire the number of agents it would need to investigate every incident of bartering to determine values and taxes. We still have a lot of power as a people if we just learn how to use it and be brave enough to use it. We need to just provide the essentials of life which are food, clothes, medicines, and agriculture equipment.

    • Nancy

      Farmers won’t be able to live off of locals since the locals don’t have the money. Ag equipment is expense to operate and regulations are too burdensome. Bartering is great and should be encouraged. You forget your ideas take all power away from the government so they will not like this at all. Solution is to have people grow their own if they can, if not co-op gardens are working well. I have 3 acres that I would love to co-op garden with my community.

  • Angry Voter

    The direct cost of the war is $15B per month.

    2/3 of the US trade deficit is the direct cost of oil – about $40B per month.

    So there’s $55B per month right there.

    New nuclear plants cost $2B. New electric cars made in the US cost $30K.

    In 10 years we could eliminate all oil imports forever.

  • Bonnie

    You haven’t seen anything yet! Now that the Republicans are the majority in the House
    watch and see how bad things get for the middle class and working poor!

    Republicans and their hog Elite friends want to steal everything from the American people!
    Watch it happen!

    Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh will propagandize
    Americans into enjoying Republicans slit their throats!

  • Bonnie

    Gary 2 is my hero! He gets the truth all the way!

    This Bush tax cut BS was how President Bush helped all his wealthy hog rich/elite friends.
    Imagine people like the David Rockefeller paying
    the same amount of taxes a clerks pays!
    Bush destroyed our Bankruptcy laws for the average Joe and gave them to his wealthy rich/elite hog friends, the Corporations.
    Why do you think they get tremendous bail outs! It’s legal!

    The is what the Bush tax cuts were all about.
    Allowing the wealthy hog rich/elite to get away with paying their fair share of taxes!

    And guess what? Had it not been for Obama
    the Republicans wanted this the Bush tax cuts permanent!
    Don’t allow the Republicans to steal Social Security, Medi-care, foodstamps, and other
    social programs Americans pay into!
    Don’t allow Glenn Beck to propagandize you!
    He works for these greedy elite!

  • JustJoe
    Kevin Drum’s article on “How to think about Taxes” is an excellent start. THis is a progressive way to structure taxes. Will it ever be implemented? Doubtful due to the clout and money of the rich. But we can hope..and spread the word. What we have now is a joke –and the rest of the world is laughing while we the poor and middle class cry…
    The wealthy should pay more because they benefit more from our society. They benefit more from public services(fire, police and courts). Their workforce is educated by public institutions, their holdings are protected by publicly funded emergency services, they make use of the infrastructure that the public pays for.
    Many rich know this and want to pay a fair assessment.
    Let’s overwhelm our elected and get the ball rolling!

  • JustJoe

    When Rome failed it was due to two basic reasons. The wealthy only pretended to pay fair taxes…and the country was at war on too many fronts and couldn’t keep the immigrants out of the country. They came in wanting farms like the Romans had…and a society that had indoor plumbing and a water system for farming.

    Historian Thomas Cahill explains it here.

  • Gary2

    Our economic problems stem from the biggest concentration of income and wealth at the top since 1928, combined with stagnant incomes for most of the rest of us. The result: Americans no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full capacity.

    Tax the rich hard and spread the wealth!

  • Will – In Lexington, KY

    Every politician you hear is saying they either want to increase taxes to spend more on those in need or they want to give tax breaks to the corporations as incentives to open new facilities for job creation. The politicians never seem to want to simply let working Americans to keep what they earn.

    If we ended the wars of aggression and brought the troops home, we would have plenty of funds and be able to let working Americans keep what they earn. Then they would actually have a better chance at taking care of themselves and their neighbors.

    It seems as though there is a design by a few to confuse the issues so most people will not understand what’s really going on and then be able to do something about it.

  • jim

    The rich can just turn in their citizenship and leave the country, and pay no taxes at all. If you look at the budget this year, even if we shut down the federal government this year including the military, we would not get enough tax revenue to pay the rest of our liabilities, and both sides of the aisle are at fault.

  • ME

    I am a single mother and work a full time and a part time job. I have a house. My 20 yr. old son is currently unemployed has arthritic knees and we are fighting for disability. I work my butt off and am barley getting by. I don’t qualify for any assistance because I work. I get shit back from taxes because of the bell curve. But yet there are plenty of people who are able to work milking the system and qualify for everything and get more money back tax wise because the don’t work enough! What is wrong with that picture???

  • Ed Dunn

    I am becoming increasingly upset that my tax dollars, used for food stamps, health care and public housing for the working poor are actually supporting businesses such as Walmart. They train their employees to use public programs to fill in for the low pay they receive. So, my taxes actually help make the Waltons some of the richest people in the world. Though I never step foot in that store, I am helping them buy their houses, cars, vacations, etc.

    Walmart is not the only company doing this. Many thousands of companies pay poverty wages.

    Let us stop this madness and demand that all Americans are paid a living wage. This is an issue that liberals, conservatives and libertarians can all get behind. If all jobs paid a living wage, there would be more incentive for the nonworking population to actually get a job.

    We can stop this by refusing to buy products from companies that pay poverty wages. This includes companies manufacturing overseas at slave wages. If we boycott, and overseas jobs start paying living wages, jobs would actually return to this country. Do we need to legislate living wage laws? We could, but why not take the high road? Why not begin a new paradigm of justice, a moral and ethical life? I think it should be voluntary. Why not. Why not be human?

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