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Underemployed And Hating Life

Today, millions of smart, hard working Americans are flipping burgers, waiting tables or working dead end retail jobs not because they want to, but because they have no other options.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 14 million Americans are currently unemployed and another 9.3 million Americans are currently “underemployed”.  During this economic downturn, a lot of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because they have been unable to find full-time jobs.  For many, this can be a soul-crushing experience.  It can be easy to become very bitter when you have worked very hard all your life and yet you find yourself having to take a job that only pays you a fraction of what you used to make.  A lot of young college graduates end up hating life because the only jobs that they can seem to find do not even require a college degree and don’t even come close to enabling them to keep up with their crippling student loan debt payments.  Sadly, the underemployment problem continues to grow even worse.  In September alone, the number of underemployed Americans rose by close to half a million.

There are other measurements that indicate that unemployment in America is even worse that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is indicating.

For example, a recent Gallup poll found that approximately one out of every five Americans that currently have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

In addition, according to author Paul Osterman about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

When you try as hard as you can and you still can’t pay the bills, it is easy to end up hating life.

What some Americans are going through is absolutely heart breaking.  Just consider the following story from a recent article on Fox News….

Damian Birkel, of Winston-Salem N.C., found himself in similar circumstances. He was a marketing manager at Sarah Lee in the early 1990s when he was downsized. Since then, he has been laid off from three other jobs, including one at a recruiting firm.

“I felt like I had ‘loser’ tattooed to my forehead, and ‘will work for food’ tattooed to my chest,” he says. 

The hardest part was telling his young daughter that there might not be enough money to pay the bills — among them, sending her to summer camp. “She brings her piggy bank and says, ‘Daddy, why don’t you break into the piggy bank so that you can pay some of the bills.’”

How would you feel if your little daughter said that to you?

Unfortunately, the number of good jobs just continues to decrease.

There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

And the mix of jobs that our economy is producing continues to change.

Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

What that means is that the middle class is shrinking.

A lot of young people are coming out of college right now and are having their dreams absolutely crushed.  Large numbers of them are entering the “real world” with nightmarish student loan debt burdens and only a limited number of them can find decent jobs.

A recent USA Today article told the story of one of these very frustrated young Americans….

Kate Wolfe chased a dream when she moved to New York after college, looking to break into acting while working as a maître d’.

Her $50,000 worth of student loans were a distraction she could handle. Then the uninsured 25-year-old was mugged last year, and the final indignity was the $30,000 emergency room bill.

We are pumping out tons of college graduates, but we are not pumping out nearly enough jobs for all of them.

If you can believe it, in the United States today there are 317,000 waiters and waitresses that actually have college degrees.

That is an absolutely horrifying statistic.

But the truth is that the lack of good jobs is hitting every age level really hard.

For example, the average American family is under a tremendous amount of financial stress in this economy.  Once you adjust it for inflation, median household income in the United States has declined approximately 10 percent since December 2007.

Meanwhile, the cost of food, gas, health insurance and just about everything else a family needs has gone up significantly.

Our politicians keep talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs” but the number of decent jobs continues on a very clear downward trend.

Back in 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs.  Today, only 42 percent of all jobs in the United States are middle income jobs.

Sadly, it now looks like even the low income jobs are starting to dry up.

Mall vacancies recently hit a brand new all-time record.  Major retail chains all over the country are announcing layoffs.  Things do not look very promising for the upcoming holiday season.

So what are our leaders doing about all of this?

Well, unfortunately they continue to fumble the football very badly.

According to a recent ABC News report, the U.S. government actually gave a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that decided to make its cars in Finland….

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

If we don’t figure out how to stop millions of jobs from leaving this country we are going to be in a world of hurt.

The trade policies of the federal government are neither “free” nor “fair” and they are causing the standard of living of American workers to rapidly sink toward the level of the rest of the world.

We are told that it is “inevitable” that we are going to be deindustrialized and that we are going to become a service economy.

But guess what?

Service jobs generally pay a lot less than manufacturing jobs do.

A “one world economy” where our labor force is merged with the labor forces of the rest of the globe is not a good thing for the average American worker and it is not a good thing for America.

But of course trade is not the only reason why we are losing good jobs.  There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is happening.  For many more reasons, just check out this article.

A lot of you that are reading this article are unemployed or underemployed right now.

Unfortunately, there is not much hope that the U.S. economy is going to experience a significant turnaround any time soon.

In fact, it is likely that things are going to be getting even worse.

Our economic system is dying.  Now is the time to try to get as independent of it as you can.

Don’t count on a job (“just over broke”) as your only source of income.  In this economy, no job is safe.

There are millions upon millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans that never dreamed that their lives would go so horribly wrong.

But they did.

Our nation is experiencing the consequences of decades of very bad decisions.

There is no help on the horizon and the cavalry is not on the way to rescue us.

You better prepare accordingly.

  • http://markbc.wordpress.com/thermodynamics-for-economists/ Mark_BC

    There is only one solution, which involves a few critical changes:

    1) Since the economy can no longer grow due to real world resource constraints, unemployment will inevitably go up if we maintain a 40 hour work week. Therefore, the work week must be reduced to say 30 hours to better distribute the remaining job opportunities.

    2) Increase taxes for the wealthy since the wealth distribution inequality in the US is spiraling out of control. “Trickle Down Economics” doesn’t work.

    3) Ban central banking and institute a new monetary system that is debt-free, interest-free, and issued by the government, not private banks.

    4) Ban fractional reserve banking.

    5) With a new monetary system and an end to the US dollar as a reserve currency, the Chinese Yuan will become the new reserve currency. This will devalue America’s new currency and will enable manufacturing to slowly return to the US.

  • Jean

    There are a lot of interesting comments on this thread, and I have some conflicted feelings about a few things. I’ll try to keep it simple:

    Gary2, I do appreciate that you shared with us some of what you’re going through; I’ve had times in my life with similar constraints and it was frustrating and not a lot of fun. But sharing that information makes me understand better why you come across so angry all the time.

    At the same time, I still very much do not agree with you that socialism/communism (even “partial” is the answer). At the same time, your kids sound like they are well brought up and you & your wife should be proud of them … that they are willing to make a contribution to the family, especially considering how young they are. So you must be doing something right there.

    On the other hand, your last comment re: your friends mom making just $8 and why should she make so little when the guy who owns/runs Walmart make so much? Sounds like a boo-hoo story to me… because WHY is she just making that amount? Perhaps she has no particular job skills to offer the employer. That is not always the case, but it often is. I know people who make a choice to drop out of school, or who are just not interested in working and they often do poorly. Not always the reason, but that’s often the case.

    Why did she have to foreclose on her home (lucky to have ever been able to own a home, I never could… living in expensive places to further my career opportunities)? I also find it hard to sympathize with here because I have a brother who works for Walmart. He doesn’t have any kind of fancy job so I’m sure he makes the same amount (or maybe a bit more because he’s been there for years, so maybe got raises over time). He makes what he does because he isn’t all that interested in work (he had training to be a baker and at one time was making better money and was a bakery manager). He quit that for some reason and started working for Walmart for less money and when he was offered a management position he declined, because he didn’t want the responsibility (and he’s trying to be a musician on the side). At the same time, he isn’t on food stamps, he isn’t getting SSI, and he owns a house (albeit a cheap place, in Knoxville) and he didn’t “have to” foreclose on his house. So what gives? He lives cheaply. He has no fancy clothes or things like haircuts, no fancy car (his car is the worst dump heap I’ve ever seen). At times he makes choices I wouldn’t… like not replacing his heater for a few years, when it broke down. I’m sure it got rather crispy in winter, but he wasn’t living where he would freeze. He also has a huge garden, and has sold some stuff at the farmer’s market for fun. And he isn’t whining and complaining about it either.

    Why are some people satisfied to have their basic needs met, while others complain and expect someone else to fix it for them?

    • Jake

      Well said Jean.

  • Draken Korin

    As a former finance profession­al, I tell you YES, the lending/banking system is predatory, rigged against the middle and working classes, and the time is now to collapse it.

    Wide-scale DEBTORS’ REVOLT — DEFAULT-EN­-MASSE is the answer, or at least part of it.

    The fact remains that the black hole of debt will destroy the working and middle classes. These “contracts­” are not inviolable things; they were made during a *different era*, a *different economy*, and the ability to pay them back has evaporated­. Therefore, cancel student and other types of predatory debt, or the revolt en-masse will occur, and soon.

    The momentum grows. Join us. Walk away from your debt instruments and help speed up the desirable collapse of the predatory banking system. Rebuild from there, under fair rules – responsible capitalism that recognizes the need for a economically strong workforce and middle class.

    DEBTORS’ REVOLT – DEFAULT EN MASSE. The critical mass is closer than you think.

    …And to the folks who will immediatel­y answer with “pay what you owe. end of story!”, let me just preempt by answering that the analysis is more structural and macro in scope than that. It’s not just a matter of whose “fault” it is – regardless of that, it’s become a macroscale systemic distortion that, if allowed to continue, will prevent any sort of mobility in the long term. We, as a nation, need to simply suck it up, recognize that these contracts were made in what is essentiall­y a different economic era, and recognize that they are incompatib­le with the new situation. It has to simply be zeroed.

    And yes, it will cause widespread systemic collapse, but this will be temporary, we will adjust and rebuild, and will have cleansed out the massive DISTORTIONS that currently plague the system.

    DEBTORS’ REVOLT — DEFAULT EN MASSE. The momentum grows. Spread it.

    • Jeremy

      That is NO solution. I have tons of student debt, but the decision was mine, and I am responsible for it. Fortunately I have no other debt, so can zoom in on this one payment.

      What you are suggesting will only lead to more misery and repression.

      • Draken Korin

        Nope, you are being narrow in your understanding of the larger issues at stake here. And thanks for your personal story, bro – very helpful!

  • Colin

    I think it’s time that we have a discussion on defining entitlements. For myself, I see what I am asking for is a right. For example, in Declaration 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations states:

    “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

    When I read the stories of the 99% on the website, We Are the 99 Percent, I hear the voices who been denied these rights. Yet, the right wing claims these people are clamoring for entitlements. Is the right saying that basic human rights are entitlements? Or am I reading them wrong? That’s why I am calling for a discussion.

    • Kevin2

      Colin

      If your talking UN you are speaking in regards to international. How far do you wish your personal standard of living to drop to support Declaration 25 in the third world? Obviously with several billion people to lift up to the level proposed in Declaration 25 you must share. The US dropping it’s standard of living is facilitating the above goal if we are to raise the standard of living in the developing world.

    • MarkD

      An entitlement is anything somebody else has to pay for! As far as I am concerned one basic human right is all I need Freedom. How can you think it is a human right to take from me to give to you. I call it robbery.

    • GoneWithTheWind

      If I were you I would insist that those people who decided it was a right to a good standard of living and ask for a job or money. Don’t come to me as a taxpayer asking for it I never claimed it was your fricking right to live well while doing nothing.

    • mondobeyondo

      Declaration 25, Sub-Declaration 1: Citizens of certain sub-Saharan African countries shall be allowed sufficient food, housing, medicine and education, without fear of intervening warlords, bandits, pirates and dictators.

  • mondobeyondo

    Resist! Rebel! Revolt!

    Sounds an awful lot like 1968, doesn’t it?

    So, how close to the abyss do you want to step towards this time around? We came pretty close 43 years ago.

    (The alternative though, is the status quo. Hey, that rhymes! And look where the status quo has gotten us thus far.)

    • mondobeyondo

      Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s gather around the Pentagon and try to levitate it!! *

      * True story. Hippies tried to do that during the “Moratorium” protests against the Vietnam war in October 1969. Apparently, it didn’t work.

    • mondobeyondo

      Why the hell does history have to repeat itself?
      Haven’t we learned by now? Oh yeah, no we haven’t.
      That’s just the point.
      We haven’t learned a freaking thing.

  • shypuffadder

    Sounds like “Jean” is satisfied with living like her brother. You do live like your brother, don’t you?”

    • Jean

      Well… I don’t exactly live like my brother, because I make quite a bit more money than him, but I live within my means. I also worked hard to develop good job skills and got the education I needed to get the job I wanted. My work is difficult and challenging and although I’m not crazy about some of my co-workers the work itself is satisfying and I feel is doing some good in the world.

      For a number of years earlier I spent more than I had and got into debt, which was no fun and makes you feel trapped like a slave. At this point, I am happier to live within my means then in those earlier years.

      I also have a place to live I can easily afford, renting a small house on a 500-acre farm. While I don’t own it, it’s peaceful, quiet and very comfortable and in a safe location (not so my job, so I have a bit of a commute). If I found a better job elsewhere I could move with a months notice. My landlord is reasonable, he only raised my rent once in 6 years (all of $25/month) and I have a few nice neighbors. I can also garden as much as I desire, which pleases me and I have a beautiful view of two rivers from my bedroom…. and don’t even have to mow the lawn. I have no complaint about my lifestyle, how about you?

      • BenjiK

        Good for you Jean! The biggest threat to the “entitlement society” is people who live within their means and what really rubs salt in their wounds is the ones who are satisfied and happy to do so. Contentment is the sworn enemy of envy. Over the last 6 years I have seen my dispensable income reduced by about 50%, however, I have made the necessary lifestyle changes to accommodate that reduction. No more $600/month truck payment, my 12 year old truck is paid for; We sold our previous home, with a $1350/month mortgage, for a small loss, and bought a foreclosure from our local bank, which carries a $325 a month payment, taxes and insurance included; The list goes on, but the point is the freedom we now experience greatly outweighs the shackles of materialistic slavery. Though I am still greatly concerned for the future of our nation and the global community as a whole, our new found freedom and happiness has given us the resources to prepare for whatever may come. God bless Jean, and may happiness and contentment be always on your side!

        • Jean

          Thank you BenjiK! Sounds like you and your family also made some wise choices, and I’m glad you’re finding contentment in that! That’s amazing you have such a positive attitude, I think that’s more than half the battle.

          For those of you who are trying to do something similar, a good resource I found is the book “Your Money or Your Life”

        • DownWithLibs

          Good for you! As long as you are happy.

        • R. S. S.

          SO your answer to the death of the American dream and the middle class, is deal with it because we deserve it? Here is whats wrong with America everyone….and, on top of it, throw in some god as if religion matters at all.

  • MarkD

    Do most of you not really believe what is coming? There will be no welfare, hell there will be no food. There will be no S.S. grandma and grandpa are going to die unless you can care for them. Everyone is debating taxes and benifits, should we have more or less. If you are not prepared for what is coming you will be a slave to whomever remains in power or grabs power. Most of you simply will die or be killed. This is no freaking joke! This guy wants to discuss what the U.N. thinks…lol Colin my friend you will have NO rights to anything. The U.N. can not even feed Haiti how do you think they will feed 300 million people and supply you clothes and housing?

    • Colin

      No nation or organization can enforce rights. In fact, many times these rights are infringed upon for various reasons.

      According to you, I have no rights to anything. Who are you to decide to what rights I do have, or don’t have?

      • Colin

        Nations or organizations can define what a right is, and these bodies have the authority to enforce these rights. However, there are times when these rights are infringed upon for various reasons.

        According to you, I have no rights to anything. Who are you to decide to what rights I do have, or don’t have?

        • DownWithLibs

          God help you when the Blue Helmets show up!

  • S. Wiseman

    Regarding Jean’s comment “Why are some people satisfied to have their basic needs met, while others complain and expect someone else to fix it for them?”
    Could explain how a 40 year old Amish farmer with 14 children could manage to save $400,000 over 20 years. And the whole family is happy and content. – Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker.

    • Jean

      Thanks for the tip, that sounds like an interesting book!

  • R.Edd

    Here’s a ridiculous idea: impose a foreign-worker subsidiary tax.

    For every foreign worker a US-based company employs, tax them 80% of the difference in hiring the same number of US employees at minimum wage.

    For example, let’s say Fisker hired 100 people in Finland to assemble their products. Minimum wage in the US is currently $7.25, so Fisker would be taxed $5.80 per foreign employee per hour for a total of $580 an hour in taxes. Use that income as a stick to make companies re-consider keeping factories and jobs in the US.

    Is that fair to the company? Is taxation for motivation really the job of the Government? Will this idea ever see the light of day? No to all of the above! But I have a feeling something that drastic (and ridiculous) will need to happen to bring minimum-wage level jobs back stateside.

  • shypuffadder

    I don’t expect anyone to fix anything for me – but I do have a problem when all my life savings vanish because one of the too-big-to-fail banks failed. I didn’t take vacations, I put the money in my 401K. I’ve never been to Las Vegas, or Disneyanything because when I had vacation time, I was fixing the roof, gutters, and everything else I was able to fix and/or maintain. I have worked since I was 14. I was expecting to retire at 67 with little financial worries – but that was all taken before I even knew what happened. And you are going to climb on your perch and tell me I should be happy to have homelessness to look forward to. I shouldn’t have a problem with freezing during the winter because I must have been lazy? What else does your besotted crystal ball tell you? Don’t you understand yet that TPTB are coming after you too? When you read, stop moving your lips and try to develop comprehension. Perhaps then you won’t be so happy to carry the torch for people that will use you and discard you.

    We need to be looking for answers now. Continuing the blame game gets us nowhere. The world is watching and there are still some very bad people out there. Let’s stop destroying America and start building — with a good solid foundation. After we protect the citizens and assets of this country, then you can get back to the great pasttime of “hating each other.” But for now, we’ve got to let that go or we’re all going to be swept out to sea. Yes, you too. Deal with it.

    • Jean

      I can sympathize with the disappointment in losing money you’d saved for the future. A good many of us had the same problem, self included, but I also recall when I put my “retirement rollover IRA” money into a mutual fund they warned me it could do well or be lost entirely. I felt the person I worked with was very clear about the risk, and she pointed out I needed to think about my willingness to accept risk or not when making my choices, so I don’t think I can blame anyone but myself for those choice (it’s still not totally gone but 1/2 was at one point tho some has recovered). No I’m not happy about it, but I can’t see how focusing on that and being miserable about it would make it any better. If it improves (unlikely I suspect) I’ll consider it my “windfall”.
      .
      I also wouldn’t include homelessness or freezing to death as meeting one’s basic needs.

      Anyone living in a place that gets that cold would find it very helpful if possible to prepare by getting a good wood stove & a big pile of wood and tools to replace the wood when you need to… if you haven’t already.

      Alternatives might include also getting a store of warm clothing and even studying up on how people did it in the “old days”. I remember going to Plymouth Plantations one very cold, wet Thanksgiving and the pilgrims house were quite miserable. Same day, same place… the “long house” they had there in the style the local Indians used to make was actually cosy.

  • Colin

    I called for a discussion on defining what an entitlement is, and what a right is.

    I am asking for a wage that permit me to support my family. I do not want to be living on the government’s dole. However, in our corporate capitalistic system, this right is viewed I feel as an entitlement. The responses I received suggest there is a certain segment of this population that agree.

    I understand the tenuous nature of claiming rights. When every time I think about rights, I think about what George Carlin said many years ago,

    http://mindofv.blogspot.com/2008/04/excerpt-from-george-carlin-on-rights.html

    I have no illusions about this.

    So, instead of having a discussion, I had five very vociferous and ugly individuals attempt to tear me down. Nice. (sarcastic remark)

  • tappedops

    Man i do love these threads… good job Mr M… theres such a great cross between truthers and tv heads and even some die-hard right- lefters, its a hoot…

    Well heres the deal… all the brain power this blog and every other site like this one has produced in the last year doesnt equal one fraction of a second of genious produced by the think tanks that are orchestrating this “Symphony of Distruction” (thanks D. Mustaine) the brightest minds on this rock (who yes, do tend to get bent towards the easy buck side) working 24/7 all making twice what your fav football hero makes, armed with every conceivable amount of info and intel to the point that they know what were going to think before you think it— never mind our actions…

    The bottom line… its over… they own you, everything you have,everything you are,— they stole the world and everthing on it… they even stole many peoples minds… were living in this sceleton of people and stuff we once thought was ours… a plan more than a hundred years old… enter The New World Order…

    • mondobeyondo

      I hate the smell of the New World Odor. It stinks.

    • enlguy

      That seems to be the LEAST amount of brain power yet. Having an
      exceptionally high IQ, myself, and knowing various professions of others
      know to have ridiculously high IQs, and watching the way politics
      works, it is rather simple to show the brightest minds are not
      involved. The greediest are. The brightest minds are too busy waiting
      in the food stamp line or coaching sports to bother with politics.

      Not to mention such an extremely negative view is obviously false. Were you on acid when you wrote that? Nobody “owns” me. Nobody even has a correct address for me. :) The brighter minds DO generally prevail. I’m sorry the TV has filled YOUR mind with such garbage.

  • JerryParker

    Well, I guess that one of the few solutions, apart from self-sufficiency within the UniTIGHTASStates of AmeriKKKakapee, is to emigrate, and the possibilities are great, since so many other natios, islands, territories, etc., have better standards of living and opportunities than the U. S. of A. (So many in the U.S. do not realise, despite all that has happened, just how much the banana republic in which they lived has sunk in world comparisons.)

    Don`t set your eyes on the major developped countries only; there may be opportunities in Africa or the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans that surpass what AmeriKKKans are putting up with.

    • enlguy

      I’ve been dreaming of that for a while, but I know Americans who have
      gone and setup businesses in less developed countries – it only takes a
      few months before you’re paying a shitton to the authorities or being
      shipped off. America does not hold a monopoly on corruption. I know
      someone else that tried Sweden, and says he likes it, but if you’re
      dying of cancer, it may be 10 years before you see a specialist (someone
      else I know’s story). That’s government health for you.

  • REED RICHARDS

    Michael,

    I TAKE THE MARIE ANTOINETTE POINT OF VIEW:
    “LET THEM EAT GREASE AND SUGAR”:

    How fortuitous that you would post such a picture as the symbol of this article. Max Keiser did say on his show that, due to endless wars, bank bailouts and outsourcing of jobs Amerika’s economy can only support seven cheeseburgers and an order of fries………..

  • http://www.hotbedinfo.com KT

    We wont have money to spend much longer.

    Top Investors Final Warning: Get your money out of danger immediately!

    http://hotbedinfo.com/2011/10/top-investors-final-warning-get-your-money-out-of-danger-immediately/

  • Jean

    Locally, the radio has been advertising that the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Apprenticeship program is accepting applicants between Oct 17 – Dec 16.

    I don’t know much about the program (not my area of interest), but I am under the impression it’s the type of experience that can lead to a better paying job for some people, so I thought I’d pass it on. For more information go to:

    http://www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/norfolk/Careers/Apprentice.aspx

    PS (ignore the pop up that tells you they don’t have a valid certificate… it’s common in Federal websites to get that message)

  • Jesse

    Why should companies in the United States hire an American at 30K when they can hire two H1-B visa holders for 40K and a promise of a green card.

  • Gmarks

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8850509/Billionaire-French-hotelier-shot-dead-in-professional-hit.html

    It’s 1789 France – and only the French know how to deal with the demons.

    Come on Americans…. it’s time.

    • enlguy

      Word.

  • http://obbop.wordpress.com/ Obbop

    “What that means is that the middle class is shrinking.”

    Sheeesh…. the CONSTANT clutching to the too-oft-used “middle class” term that is based more upon emotion than rationality.

    Heck, find me a definition for “middle class.”

    Educated folks researching the use of “middle class” have proclaimed that MANY folks who are in economic straits can be considered to be working-poor!!!!

    So, let’s be realistic; the working-poor class is growing. Their numbers are increasing by leaps and bounds and due to MANY changes in economic factors within the USA and world-wide it is likely the numbers of working-poor will continue increasing until a large percentage of the USA population is face-down, immersed in a rut of economic despair. Mired in the mud of poverty. Their hopes, dreams and desires dashed upon the rocks of economic equality as designed and nurtured by the USA’s ruling elites and corporate USA who have ensured that the mass of USA wealth and power continues its ever-upwards climb.

    “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    “There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

  • GoodJobsSuckToo

    Waiting tables and dead end retail were stressful primarily because they did not pay enough. Irate or difficult customers are in your life for no more than an hour. I had my dignity.

    My cubicle jobs have been far more stressful, degrading, and soul-sucking. And some portion of those better salaries went to stress relief – from therapy to more drinking to dining out to the gym.

  • http://www.mat-rodina.blogspot.com Stanislav Mishin

    The trade policies of the federal government are neither “free” nor “fair” and they are causing the standard of living of American workers to rapidly sink toward the level of the rest of the world.

    Not totally true. A lot of humanity lives at or above the US standard: Canada, Ireland, Iceland, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Normway, Denmark, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czeck, Israel, Hong Kong, Taiwan, S.Korea, Japan, Chile, Dubai, Kuwait, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand.

    A whole host are not far below and are will be passing the US standards: Russia, Argentina, Bahamas, Poland, Hungary, Finland.

    More accurately, the US is sinking or rather in reality, has sunk to Second World Level and is still heading downward.

    Just on infant mortality, the US is around the 50th place, below Cuba. Life expectancy is also far from the top or the top 10 for that matter and sinking.

    However, when one considers that the US has, in all reality, been bankrupt since 1974, when Brenton Woods 2 forced the world off of gold, just for that bankrupt reason, much of what has been built in the US over the past 30 years is unsustainable infrastructure, built on debt.

  • Simplify

    This is to the folks caught in the situation described in the article.

    If you hate life it is because you continue to hold on to the fantasy that is the ultra-consumerist, materialistic “American Dream”. You feel cheated because you bought into the lie and you don’t have all the fame, success, money, and/or materialistic crap that you think you deserved at this point in your life or career. The system used you and then squished you like a bug on a windshield. Believe me, I have been there.

    You want to be happy, or at least live a bit more contentedly and worry-free? Then WAKE UP. Abandon the mythical quest. Screw this failing society. Screw protesting. To heck with trying to change the system. To heck with what people who you don’t know think about you. Screw the government and the failed political system (the two-party dictatorship).

    Instead do the following: Get out of the cities. Get out of the banking system by eliminating debt and destroying your credit cards. Close your checking account and pay with cash and money orders. Sell all your crap. Buy only what you need. Stash cash and precious metals where you can access them at any time (not at a criminal bank!). Arm yourself. Buy old vehicles and drive them until they die. Live in the smallest, cheapest housing you can find – better yet purchase some land and build a small, super-insulated house (to minimize utility expenses). Swallow your misplaced pride and take advantage of as much financial, food, housing, medical, and other aid from local, state, fed, and charitable sources as possible, while it is still available. Go to food shelves. Use the barter system. Use the black market. Lie to, cheat from, and steal from those who deserve it without getting caught (wake up – people, businesses, and the government are doing it to you every day). Don’t be greedy. Don’t become a stupid scumbag by resorting to committing big crimes that will get you caught and locked up with the vermin. Work for cash or barter. Keep at least a semblance of morality and ethics while doing what you have to do to live, or you will become just like the people that have created the social mindset and conditions that put you where you are today – hating life.

    I have a college degree and I haven’t worked a “real” job in eight years. My cash income is below the “poverty level” but is tax-free so more of it is acquired with far less time and effort than in the “real” world. With my lifestyle I acquire enough fiat currency to have a surplus. I grow and raise most of my own food. I actively use the barter system in a local network I helped establish. I live a simple but pleasantly comfortable life on the margins of this failed society – my entertainment is to watch it crash from a comfortable distance. I have a network of like-minded friends, community- and self-security, a roof over my head, plumbing, electricity, heat and ac, stockpiled food supplies, stockpiled fossil and alternative fuel supplies, clothing, computer, internet, vehicle, and “bank accounts” located where only I can find them. This may not sound like much, but this is actually more than I need to survive comfortably. This is more than anyone really needs, if one thinks about it.

    I used to drive through stinky, noisy rush hours to my crappy office job. I used to hate life while worrying about making the payments for my McHouse full of crap that my credit card-addicted McWife kept purchasing. I had the two new never-completely-paid-for new vehicles and a stupid boat parked in the three-car garage. Now I have no credit cards, no payments, and no debt of any kind. My biggest worry now is how to get rid of the bugs on my tomato plants. I have very few worries or complaints in my life now. Inner peace and low stress are the ultimate things one can achieve, believe me.

    Of course, when the whole system fails I am probably toast along with all of you, but at least I am living contentedly, my way and on my terms, until it happens. And then I will go down fighting.

    Wishing the best of luck to all. We are going to need it.

  • Rick

    Employers in the U.S.and worldwide, both big and small, are using the 3rd Industrial Revolution (which arrioved in the 1960’s) to automate all jobs with computers and robots. The Occupy and 99% protestors worldwide need to understand that employers are automating all jobs and will not share their newfound wealth with displaced workers. The govrernments are owned by corporations, big business and banks and they will do nothing to help displaced workers. Workers must form their own Democtatic Workplaces where there are no CEO’s, board of directors, stockholders or investors and engage in open competition with corporations and banks. If somehow the U.S. government were to get free of corporate/bank control they might heed the FDR government jobs of the 1930’s and put 30 million Americans to work receiving living wage paychecks from the federal government. As for the right wing media, their predictions that the 99% and occupy protests will fade away, they are wrong. The more jobs are destroyed, the more lose their homes and apartments, the more their children go hungry, the more the 99% protests will proliferate and intensify.

  • Practical

    @Simplify–
    you are speaking of the people who have the means to do as you have. A lot of people have already fallen through the cracks and never had land, homes, cars, bank accounts, etc to be begin with.
    In 1999, I worked SIX jobs just to keep a roof (rented) and food for a family of two. I almost never slept, drove an old banger and hardly ever bought anything not absolutely essential. It became clear to me then, that things were not going to get better, even though I had 3 college degrees and worked my feathers off at two jobs with employers and three self-employed… so I got out. Unfortunately, it is also happening in Europe where I am at the moment.
    This is not just an exclusive American problem; it is global with several global common denominators.
    Fiscal maladministration of governments spending tax monies for purposes other than for which they were collected eg, not on social and investment targets for populations, but on never-ending war and corporate bail outs.
    The never-ending war(s),that provide wealth for war profiteers (corporations, and their shareholders, some of whom are politicians), but which drain tax dollars/pounds/euros. None of the western nations can afford these conflicts, but trillions are spent yearly on weapons and new weapon technology.
    Ever-increasing salaries for executives and heads of corporations, coupled with lower pay for those actually involved in production. This combined with spurious tax breaks for the wealthiest has widened the gap between the super rich and the poor more than any other factor. How many corporations in the US did not pay any tax in the last two years? Several -look it up. In fact, some corporations actually got tax rebates, despite profits in the billions.
    It is not as easy as you make it out to be, to simply unplug from the system; you have to have capital and resources to do so. I am glad for you that you have, but you are in the minority. It is not a moral deficit that many can’t do as you have done, it is more to do with not having the ways and means, or never having had them in the first place.
    It will all crash, eventually. I suspect that it is all going to get very ugly before it gets better.

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