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Decline of the Middle Class
Old 06-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #1
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Decline of the Middle Class

Rolling Stone Magazine article The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America's Middle Class | Culture News | Rolling Stone
..but for the grace of God...
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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Hey, if I lived in Santa Barbara like that woman, I'd probably have to live out of my car, too. Housing is so expensive there! Or at least that is what I see on trulia.

What I found curious was this quote:
Quote:
food stamps supply only a fraction of her nutritional needs
I was under the (perhaps false?) impression that food stamps were enough to provide adequate food if one was eating economically and not eating steak and caviar.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:35 AM   #3
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Hey, if I lived in Santa Barbara like that woman, I'd probably have to live out of my car, too. Housing is so expensive there! Or at least that is what I see on trulia.

What I found curious was this quote:

I was under the (perhaps false?) impression that food stamps were enough to provide adequate food if one was eating economically and not eating steak and caviar.
Consider the source of the article. Consider the target audience.

Was there any suggestion about relocating to the Dakotas where they are begging for workers ?

Yet another piece with the unwritten conclusion on why the government need step in and why your taxes must go up.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
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Hey, if I lived in Santa Barbara like that woman, I'd probably have to live out of my car, too.
It does seem like a strange choice for relocation for an unemployed person in Utah. Furthermore, the unemployment rate is 6% in Utah and 11% in California.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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I was under the (perhaps false?) impression that food stamps were enough to provide adequate food if one was eating economically and not eating steak and caviar.
You be the judge...
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In California, the food stamps program, called SNAP, provides its recipients a total of $136.75 per month per person for food. That averages out to roughly $4.50 per day. In todayís economy, about one in seven Americans live on food stamps.

According to SNAPís website, to qualify, a person must have an income of less than $908 per month. SNAP covers all raw foods, including produce, dairy, meat and packaged foods, but it does not cover food consumed onsite, hot foods, cigarettes or alcohol.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #6
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It's very sad, but you can find subjects to write an article like this in any economy. And they leave out so much of the detail that you really can't draw any conclusion other than the one the author wants you to. Some arrive at the homeless threshold through poor planning, some through no fault of their own, and every variation in between - this article really doesn't spell that out. Right or wrong, I have far more sympathy for those who arrive through no fault of their own - probably like most people, and the inevitable rub where policy decisions are discussed.

Undoubtedly there are more examples today than in generations past though...grace indeed.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:53 AM   #7
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You be the judge...
I am never the judge, INTJ or not. Thanks for the figures.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
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Last night I was talking with a friend about the recession of 57 - 1957. Him in the Texas oil patch and me in Washington timber country.



heh heh heh - My neighbor's two adult children 21 and 19 have moved back out so maybe things a looking up a little.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:00 AM   #9
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I was under the (perhaps false?) impression that food stamps were enough to provide adequate food if one was eating economically and not eating steak and caviar.
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
You be the judge...
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I am never the judge, INTJ or not. Thanks for the figures.
I'm pretty sure I couldn't manage proper nutrition on $4.50/day especially living in a car with no "kitchen" to work with...
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:20 AM   #10
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One of the things I got from the article was the potential coming wave of homeless...

I saw an interview somewhere (can not remember) where the person said that a good number of former middle class people are now just running out of savings and retirement funds and will become homeless in the next year or two...
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:36 AM   #11
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The article mentions that in order to get a permit to join the Safe Parking program so you can legally park in the church parking lot you need to have a current registration. Doesn't getting a registration require prove of residence in the state in which you want the registration. After you lose your home you have less than a year before your registration runs out so what do you do then. There must be people who live in an RV only with no permanent residence. How do they register their vehicle?
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:38 AM   #12
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It does seem like a strange choice for relocation for an unemployed person in Utah. Furthermore, the unemployment rate is 6% in Utah and 11% in California.
She'd been unemployed for over 2 years and lost here home. If you had to live in your car would you want to live in freezing cold Utah or moderate temperature California? Seems like an easy call to me.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
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She'd been unemployed for over 2 years and lost here home. If you had to live in your car would you want to live in freezing cold Utah or moderate temperature California? Seems like an easy call to me.
I found the same thing when we lived in FL, overrun with homeless compared to up north, though there's a sizable homeless population in Chicago. Can't imagine how they survive winters...
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:50 AM   #14
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I found the same thing when we lived in FL, overrun with homeless compared to up north, though there's a sizable homeless population in Chicago. Can't imagine how they survive winters...
I live in east-central Wisconsin where it's a good 10 degrees colder than Chicago all winter. In Appleton there are some homeless people. Many of them go to the library all day in the winter or if it's raining. They're allowed there as long as they behave well which is fine with me. At night they go to the parking garage next to the library for some degree of shelter but still not much warmth. Must be pretty miserable for those who don't even have a car.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:01 PM   #15
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You be the judge...
Our budget for groceries for 3 is $326 (excluding one night out a week) and we never spend it all. I would think most of the board does better. Probably not CA prices here, but it seems like food stamps would cover us handily.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:23 PM   #16
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I am not so sure I am sympathetic to someone that lets themselves become homeless due to unemployment. Couldn't she have found some work even if it left her under-employed? I suspect there are jobs out there if you want one badly enough and can put your pride and previous pay expectations aside. If it were me, I'd do almost anything to avoid living in my car.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #17
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I am not so sure I am sympathetic to someone that lets themselves become homeless due to unemployment. Couldn't she have found some work even if it left her under-employed? I suspect there are jobs out there if you want one badly enough and can put your pride and previous pay expectations aside. If it were me, I'd do almost anything to avoid living in my car.
I've been unemployed for 11 months despite constant searching. I'm even gotten turned down for $8/hr jobs in production. I have 11 years experience in production. It's very difficult for many people to find ANY job in this market. I'm not even in one of the hardest hit areas so it's bad almost everywhere.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #18
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This is pretty simple: she's living in the wrong state!

Get on a Greyhound and c'mon over to Massachusetts (the gimmie capital of the US).

EBT cards are handed out like candy here (we have sign-up tables at the supermarket. Verification? Nah, just sign here); you can "lose" (sell) your EBT for cash right in the parking lot and then get another. We go through about 20,000 lost EBTs per month. i.e. 'everybody does it.

Monthly payout is about $800 a month; plus you can use it for cash at any ATM and, until recently, buy liquor, lottery tickets and even on cruise ships...but now you have to go to the aforementioned ATM first.

Nice!
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:52 PM   #19
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I could live on food stamps if I had:
1. A stove.
2. A source for bulk foods such as oatmeal, beans, rice, etc.
3. A refrigerator to store leftovers, such as beans that I cooked the day before.
4. A wild source of greens, such as dandelions, etc. - or better yet, a fruit or nut tree.

I don't think that most people who are living in their cars have these items. For whatever reason - they are homeless, and if the USA had a caste system, the homeless would be considered untouchables. I believe that most people do not have the ability to "look there."

The challenge of crawling out of such a financial and cultural hole would be, for me, daunting to say the least.

We have a place - and old out building - that we use for unfortunate relatives. I agree that the problem will be getting worse, and many people at this time are just playing musical chairs. I am drawn to becoming more involved with the food bank and the local homeless shelter.

There is a moral line that I cannot cross. It is not OK with me to see the elderly and children homeless. I need to do what I can to remedy the situation.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #20
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I've been unemployed for 11 months despite constant searching. I'm even gotten turned down for $8/hr jobs in production. I have 11 years experience in production. It's very difficult for many people to find ANY job in this market. I'm not even in one of the hardest hit areas so it's bad almost everywhere.
Aaron, First of all I am sorry to hear about your situation and secondly, I know it is bad out there. That said, if it were me, I would wash windows, mow lawns, deliver papers, etc to stay out of the homeless rut.

Hopefully, you are not close to being in that rut, as I'm sure you wouldn't be on this site posting if that was the case. Nevertheless, I wish you the best in finding something soon.
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