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Old 01-29-2015, 10:59 PM   #41
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I rarely agree politically with Megan McArdle, Peggy Noonan or Joni Ernst, but I thought this piece really captured how "entitled" we have all become as a society.

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To say that we are better off than in 1901 isn't really very useful. Expectations have changed and the more useful comparison would be against our parents. Are Americans better off than their parents? What about comparing debt. Has the debt to income ratio increased over time? and is that a better metric of our financial health than the number of kitchen cabinets we have.?

Also there are certainly many places in America that are just very poor and the trend over the last 30 years has been for the middle class to shrink as people slip into poverty. The trend is not good so saying we are mostly better off than in 1901 is pretty useless.
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Old 01-30-2015, 05:14 AM   #42
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Americans are much better off now than 1901, it's just most people don't realize it or are ignorant of the past. Many fathers left before the break of day to toil in the mines, fields, furnaces, railroads, and else where, never to return due to accidents, mayhem and crime. Now for many it's "eight and skate". Women raised their children until they could do chores or get a job to put food on the table. They owed their soul to the company store because of necessity not because they wanted a big screen TV. Yeah, we may have to pay $75.00 to the UrgentCare in the mall, but none of my kids, or their friends have dysentery, the croup, for weeks or TB til death. Far from useless.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:41 AM   #43
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Americans are much better off now than 1901, it's just most people don't realize it or are ignorant of the past. Many fathers left before the break of day to toil in the mines, fields, furnaces, railroads, and else where, never to return due to accidents, mayhem and crime. Now for many it's "eight and skate". Women raised their children until they could do chores or get a job to put food on the table. They owed their soul to the company store because of necessity not because they wanted a big screen TV. Yeah, we may have to pay $75.00 to the UrgentCare in the mall, but none of my kids, or their friends have dysentery, the croup, for weeks or TB til death. Far from useless.
"Poor" is a relative term. It depends on where and when you live(d). Today, the poorest people in the U.S. are richer than 99% of the people in a 3rd world country. It's not how much you have, it's how you use what you have and your plan on how to get more.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:49 AM   #44
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"Poor" is a relative term. It depends on where and when you live(d). Today, the poorest people in the U.S. are richer than 99% of the people in a 3rd world country. It's not how much you have, it's how you use what you have and your plan on how to get more.
Many people in America are on the edge, as pointed out in the article. Some have nice things, food and health....although their health is not as good as in most developed countries. The problem is they also have lots of debt and no savings so an illness or job loss can quickly send them into poverty.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:01 AM   #45
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Many people in America are on the edge, as pointed out in the article. Some have nice things, food and health....although their health is not as good as in most developed countries. The problem is they also have lots of debt and no savings so an illness or job loss can quickly send them into poverty.
Agreed. However, and not to derail the discussion, but the social safety net we have is supposed to help with this type of situation. But that safety net also requires the people who use it recognize how they got in the situation they are in and how to avoid it in the future.
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Old 01-30-2015, 04:43 PM   #46
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Thanks for sharing this. I think it supports what I was saying (or trying to say) in my second post in this thread. Which is: the "well-offness" of Americans is increasing, but the expectations and entitlements of Americans are growing even faster.

An income of mid 30K puts one in the 1%....worldwide.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:04 PM   #47
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Thanks for sharing this. I think it supports what I was saying (or trying to say) in my second post in this thread. Which is: the "well-offness" of Americans is increasing, but the expectations and entitlements of Americans are growing even faster.



An income of mid 30K puts one in the 1%....worldwide.

But worldwide is an irrelevant measure, except perhaps to make people feel grateful by comparison.


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Old 01-30-2015, 09:19 PM   #48
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But worldwide is an irrelevant measure, except perhaps to make people feel grateful by comparison.
Yes, but isn't much of the grumbling in the US about exactly that? I.e., even though the middle is far better off in life's basic necessities than even the wealthy of the recent past, they instead compare themselves to today's top?
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:30 PM   #49
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It is too bad there isn't more written about what does it really take to be in the top 1% of happiness.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:59 PM   #50
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But worldwide is an irrelevant measure, except perhaps to make people feel grateful by comparison.
Why irrelevant?

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Old 01-30-2015, 11:40 PM   #51
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My emergency cash is pretty much nonexistent right now, but my taxable investments throw off roughly 46% of my living expenses in qualified dividends.

I've been plowing everything into investments and only have an extra 2 weeks living expenses in cash (actually 6 weeks, but I plan to invest 2/3 of that on Monday). Usually I like to keep a year's worth of living expenses on hand, but I am so close to hitting my ESR goals that I just want to go all out until I hit my number.

My goal is taxable dividend income which can cover 50% of living expenses. So I am 92% there. I think I will hit my goal this year (age 39). Once that is done I'll build up 1+ year living expenses in cash and start looking into a career change.

There is an urgency for me to beef up my finances quickly, not related to ESR plans. It is very likely that my employer is going to be hit with a very large revenue decline, indirectly, due to sequestration budget cuts to the military. There are also some upcoming personnel changes coming due to retirements which could adversely (or positively) affect me (very long time director of our dept is retiring this year and my boss is planning on retiring in the next 1-3 years).
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:23 AM   #52
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Why irrelevant?



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Because people don't live in those lower income countries, so it is an apples and oranges comparison.


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Old 01-31-2015, 08:27 AM   #53
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Because people don't live in those lower income countries, so it is an apples and oranges comparison.
LOL +1

It seems like proponents of "life in the middle class sucks" are suddenly nowhere to be found when genuinely challenged to explain their claim.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:01 AM   #54
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Because people don't live in those lower income countries, so it is an apples and oranges comparison.


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People don't live in those countries? What the heck are you talking about?


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Old 01-31-2015, 11:20 AM   #55
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I have a good friend who owns a small plumbing business here in Texas. I always ask him, "How's business?" His response is always the same... "Business is great, pipes still getting clogged as always. But I could double my revenue if I could get reliable, skilled help." His guys average over $50K/yr with full benefits (very low COL area). But nobody wants to do it. The few that do typically have a criminal background or they're in the country illegally, or other issues. He loves to pontificate about how unemployment stats are a crock, and the real issue is that young people don't want to work hard and get their hands dirty... entitlement mentality... over-parenting... video games... rap music... I'll stop there.
This. I have heard the story over and over again. People are just about allergic to hard work...hell, any real work at all. How many of your neighbors have lawn services because they don't 'have the time' to do it themselves? This coupled with the overwhelming number of folks that feel 'entitled' to everything under the sun.

A couple years ago, millions of dollars worth of crops died in Georgia after the state cracked down on immigrant (illegal) labor. They couldn't hire anyone and when the state tried to employ prisoners they wouldn't do it either as it was 'too difficult'.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:47 AM   #56
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I have a good friend who owns a small plumbing business here in Texas. I always ask him, "How's business?" His response is always the same... "Business is great, pipes still getting clogged as always. But I could double my revenue if I could get reliable, skilled help." His guys average over $50K/yr with full benefits (very low COL area). But nobody wants to do it. The few that do typically have a criminal background or they're in the country illegally, or other issues. He loves to pontificate about how unemployment stats are a crock, and the real issue is that young people don't want to work hard and get their hands dirty... entitlement mentality... over-parenting... video games... rap music... I'll stop there.
I bet if your friend raised his wages, he could find a lot of qualified workers.

The labour market is just another market, with buyers and sellers of labour. If reliable, skilled people keep leaving, that usually means that there other companies / careers that are paying better or providing a better work environment, or other careers that people are more interested in.

I find it funny how many business owners don't understand that, and complain that they can't afford to pay more....well then the market for that good or service does not exist.

As far as the "young people" issues, it's is a complete "crock". Older generations have been saying that for centuries about the younger generation that they raised. (there was a thread on here about that a few weeks back).

(Edited to add that if your friend could truly double his revenue by just switching to skilled labour, then he should be able to easily greatly increase the wages he pays, and be better off)
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:52 AM   #57
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This. I have heard the story over and over again. People are just about allergic to hard work...hell, any real work at all. How many of your neighbors have lawn services because they don't 'have the time' to do it themselves? This coupled with the overwhelming number of folks that feel 'entitled' to everything under the sun.

A couple years ago, millions of dollars worth of crops died in Georgia after the state cracked down on immigrant (illegal) labor. They couldn't hire anyone and when the state tried to employ prisoners they wouldn't do it either as it was 'too difficult'.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.

You make it sound like the farm "owner" was "entitled' to have his crops harvested, yet complain that "workers" feel "entitled" to their own life and how they choose to spend their time, including not wanting to work very hard, in uncomfortable positions, in hot environments, for likely very little pay and benefits. As my post above states, the labour market is just a market. People perceived that the farming work was not worth the pay.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:53 AM   #58
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As far as the "young people" issues, it's is a complete "crock". Older generations have been saying that for centuries about the younger generation that they raised. (there was a thread on here about that a few weeks back).
This simply isn't true. When my Dad was in the orphanage, the 'residents' had to grow their own food. They worked the land and worked in the shops. Try doing that now in the 'group homes' that kids are sent off too. Things ARE different.

Did you read my post where Georgia had millions of dollars worth of crops DIE because they couldn't get them harvested? Are you saying that people *really* aren't that lazy...but only if you pay them 100K a year to pick peaches?


Besides, if you could sit at home and eat bon bons while the government pays you to DO NOTHING? What would motivate you to do something?!?
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:15 PM   #59
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I don't eat peaches now; I can just imagine how many more would stop when peaches cost $20.00 each.




Absenteeism is pretty rampant is some instances. I can remember asking a tenant-applicant why he only works 3 days a week when he said he supposed to work 6. His reply was "he couldn't make it on two". Needless to say, he wasn't approved.


My friend owns a multi-manufacturer car dealership in town. He can only rely on retired gentlemen to run courtesy vans, cars, pick-ups, or be lot attendants. Everyone under 35 can't pass a drug/alcohol test or has a criminal record.
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:17 PM   #60
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This simply isn't true. When my Dad was in the orphanage, the 'residents' had to grow their own food. They worked the land and worked in the shops. Try doing that now in the 'group homes' that kids are sent off too. Things ARE different.

Did you read my post where Georgia had millions of dollars worth of crops DIE because they couldn't get them harvested? Are you saying that people *really* aren't that lazy...but only if you pay them 100K a year to pick peaches?


Besides, if you could sit at home and eat bon bons while the government pays you to DO NOTHING? What would motivate you to do something?!?
I'll be done after this post...I'm feeling a bit angry at this point..but...

Your dad's orphanage had land to work and shops (as in multiple shops?) How nice of them to have all these resources. I bet if you talked with the group homes today, they would gladly take resources like that. And yes, times are different, they are much better now, or would you like to see orphans work in shops again?
(Oh, and an anecdotal story is not representative of the whole)

Is the farming work year round or seasonal? If it is year round work, then yes, it's not about laziness, but just paying enough to entice people to do that work. For 2 jobs with the same amount of wage, taking an easier, lighter job is smart, not lazy. (why sacrifice your time AND body, when you can just sacrifice your time). How many peaches did you pick?

If it's seasonal, then it's a bit harder. How do you find someone who isn't working for a large period of time somewhere else, or who can find another job on the exact periods of time that the work is not available. Most people would much rather work a stable year round job, unless the seasonal work pays well enough to cover them until the next season.

I think your bon-bon comment is completely off base.
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