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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-20-2004, 01:09 PM   #21
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

The significant increase in productivity which accounted for much of corporate profits in the past year can lead to a higher level of living standards; however, there are many extenuating and potentiallly negating factors in play. So no one knows at this point. Case in point is the the market's behavior this week.
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-20-2004, 06:55 PM   #22
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

[quote]
Hey markplus4,

PULEEZE..............! Get your Facts strait before you take the subject off of the rails and into the weeds...

Re:1) above "Excessive regulation without cost/benefit justification that raises the prices of everything we buy. "

THIS administration is not enforcing the regulations that are in place... many put into being by their own party. Example: Clean water regulations put in place by Nixon that are currently being eviscerated with ludicrous "reinterpretations" of the statutes ....for example; allowable waste discharges into "navagable waters" has been used to justsify dumping inot any creek or stream. Why? The current definition of "navagable" now includes a 12' wide creek. Since when does a canoe make a small stream navagable!?

TRUE COST includes not only the cost to make something but the total life cycle impact of that item to be consumed, both for you and your children and your children's children. You excessively foul the environment and that generates REAL additional costs. An unpleasant life for your grandchild, a higher incidence of cancer and hence expensive medical care, fish that can't be consumed or no longer exist and fisherman out of work, etc . Please read "Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins before you claim any expertise on costs. Also, the democrats understand that enforcing current regulations would serve us well... much better than the cynical bastards that don't understand that there job is to serve us all

Re: 2) above.... " Egregious giveaways to public labor unions (ala California) that necessitate higher taxes."

Giveaways......!!!! BOTH parties are guilty here, but the wealth serving current administration (not necessarilly the mainstream republican) are worst of all. We subsidize the heck out of industries that we should not. For example the sugar industry is in the hands of a wealthy few family dynasties... WE subsidize them to the tune of a billion USD a year. And these are families that are already worth hundreds of millions a piece. And you decry the attempt to ensure that a blue collar worker can earn a decent wage? Pay attention to what is currently happening to rules regarding overtime wages and tell me that is fair.

see part 2
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-20-2004, 06:57 PM   #23
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:

Let's take a look at what the "other" party has to offer & see if their policies will increase the size of the collective pot:
1) Excessive regulation without cost/benefit justification that raises the prices of everything we buy.
2) Egregious giveaways to public labor unions (ala California) that necessitate higher taxes.
3) Refusing to consider private competition alternatives to the teacher union controlled public "education" system. Shameful.
4) Continuing to bribe the American electorate with their own money via inefficient, costly government programs.
5) A belief that government should continue to confiscate a higher % of people's incomes. Show me one example of society that has taxed it's way to prosperity (just one).

I get a real kick out of people who want to turn the U.S. into a Euroland replica, despite the fact that they trail us in every conceivable economic statistic.
part 2
Re:3) "Refusing to consider private competition alternatives to the teacher union controlled public "education" system. Shameful."

Come on. Your child can go to any private school you want to send them to. Private, by defintion implies NO government funding. Public the inverse. Taxes are paid for and used for education FOR THE GREATER GOOD because this is what makes it possible for an business person to succeed ...you can't grow a company or a country without an educated populace. Those that have no children pay taxes for those that do EXACTLY because those children are needed, every generation, for the support and well being of the generation before and after them.

Re: 4 ) above..
"Continuing to bribe the American electorate with their own money via inefficient, costly government programs."

As opposed to what.?..subsidising the oil industry, iinefficiencies in the military procurement system (Halliburton) . Increasing the demand for drugs with the new Medicare drug benefit program AND legislating that the government with all it's spending power (your tax dollars) can't negotiate prices (see what kind of legislation 500 drug lobbiests can write)

WHAT!? How about spending borrowed money like a drunken sailor and not being good for it. In the entire history of the US we have financed every war responsibly... ONLY this administration would wage a war; drastically increase our spending elsewhere; and then refuse to pay for it. Your children and grandchildren will be paying for this for years to come...and oh by the way, the greater the debt burden on them, the harder it will be to support the aspiring SS and Medicare consumer....you!

Re: 5) above...
"A belief that government should continue to confiscate a higher % of people's incomes. Show me one example of society that has taxed it's way to prosperity (just one). "

Keep in mind. This administration has shrunk government not one wit. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is largely over WHAT we spend our money on.... Butter vs. guns. You consume public services (roads, defense, etc.) you should pay for them regardless...it's called taxes.

Many wealthy RESPONSIBLE billionaires were and are against the recent tax cuts as well as the screwed up repeal of the inheritance tax( largely helping only those dying with over 1 million in wealth intact.. and family farms, with over 3 million in vlaue ) . Warren Buffet, Bill
Gates, etc. don't belive in this and they would benefit the most Since when should it be an absolute right to pass, unfettered, great fortunes made exactly because we live in a democratic system that allows you, and supports you in, creating that great wealth. You would prefer passing it on to Paris Hilton, so that her great contribution to society is the couture fashion, champagne and caviar she buys?


THIS FISCAL INDEPENDENT IS RUNNING TO THE POLLS TO VOTE FOR KERRY because Bush is the single WORST President this country has every seen.

markplus4.....You might want and deserve this guy, but my children and grandchildren do not.

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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-20-2004, 07:03 PM   #24
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

To all:
Sorry for the political rant..... got a little emotional there
fufund
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-20-2004, 08:14 PM   #25
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Obviously you were not around during the days of
LBJ who thought that guns AND butter was a fine
policy and just about bankrupted us.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 05:01 AM   #26
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
Obviously you were not around during the days of
LBJ who thought that guns AND butter was a fine
policy and just about bankrupted us.

Cheers,

Charlie
Sorry Charlie -

That was peanuts compared to what "W" is doing now!

Oh, if we could only have those deficits of the 1960's!

Are you sure you were around then? I'll refresh your memory. You guys were fighting us against civil rights.
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 06:46 AM   #27
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:

Sorry Charlie -

That was peanuts compared to what "W" is doing now!

Oh, if we could only have those deficits of the 1960's!

Are you sure you were around then? I'll refresh your memory. You guys were fighting us against civil rights.
Aw, come on Cutthroat, during the Johnson Administration, I'll bet the biggest thing on your mind was "are you sure this will make you go blind? If so, maybe I'll just do it until I need glasses"
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 08:23 AM   #28
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Cut, I was a Democrat with roots in Little Dixie of
southeastern Oklahoma until LBJ came along. Even
though he was from my adopted state he was by far
worse than Bush. I have voted Republican ever since
and just don't talk politics with my sainted mother or
flaming liberal brother. As for the civil rights movement,
I grew up with, loved and respected many blacks before
the movement ever started. Don't tar me with that
brush. It was the southern Democrats of your own
party that "stood in the doorstep". If not for moderate
Republicans, the civil rights act would have been delayed even more.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 01:45 PM   #29
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
It was the southern Democrats of your own *
party that "stood in the doorstep". *
Those were Dixiecrats that were driven from the party by Hubert Humphrey. I don't talk Democrats and Republicans. I talk Liberals and conservatives. Heck Ronald Reagan was a Democrat and so was Strom Thurmond and George Wallace. They have nothing in common with liberals, so they eventually left the party.

Just like Zell Miller who will speak at 'W's convention next week. He may call himself a Democrat today, but he's no liberal! If Abe Lincoln himself spoke at the GOP convention today, he would probably get booed out of town - Abe was a Liberal. Nope, today the GOP wants someone like Robert E. Lee! And that is why the south is firmly in the GOP back pocket!

Quote:
Don't tar me with that *
brush.
So, if you are in favor of Civil Rights, what do you think of the present GOP's position on Gay Civil Rights?
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 04:21 PM   #30
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Gay "civil unions" with all legal ramifications are only
fair, but the state of "holy matrimony" should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman. To me,
and millions like myself, this is a matter of faith.

I also think stem cell research, on cells earmarked for
destruction, is OK .... my thought is that human life does not begin until the embryo is implanted in a woman's womb. After that I believe that abortion for any reason other than incest, rape or saving the other's life is morally wrong. Again, these are matters of faith with me.

I don't think either party can or will do enough to reduce
our dependence on oil. It is just not politically feasible
at this time. My hope is that market forces spearheaded
by hybrid cars from Japan will force the issue. As for other tree hugger issues, I generally come down on the
side of saving jobs instead of snail darters.

I believe that Rush is a windbag and Hannity is like a
bulldog with a bone with his "talking points", but both
express views that I generally agree with (not always).
OTOH, I think Moore and his ilk spit hate against Bush
with lies and incredible distortions. Ideologues on both
sides are narrow minded bigots who never concede a
point and always bore in for the kill.

This may surprise you, but I think it would be fair to take
the cap off of SS tax altogether. At the same time, I
don't think it is fair to tax SS income. And while we are
on the subject, I think it would be a good idea to allow
each person to allocate part of his SS tax to a private
account......But I would put strict limitations on the types
of investments allowed. Something like Vanguard's
Target Retirement Series comes to mind. Something like
this, IMHO, over time is the only solution to our pending
SS crisis.

Yes, I am in favor of school vouchers and against the
incredibly inept and anachronistic school system rooted
in place today. I think the only way to cut the knot is
to add competition and accountability ..... not continue
to throw good money after bad. BTW, I don't think it
is fair to force a child to continue to go to a bad school.
Do you? Nor do I think it fair for a family who pays school taxes to have to pay the full burden of a private
school. Do you?

Surprise, I think we should do everything possible to
speed up the drug approval process on foreign (and
domestic for that matter) drugs. This should enhance
competition. Right? OTOH, I don't think the big drug companies are "evil" . After all, they may same my butt someday. Are drug profits obscene as some on the left maintain? Well, who is going to fund the research? I shudder to think of the government taking over that job. We don't want to "kill the goose" do we?

Do you want more? I could go on and on but I weary
and grow tired of this discussion, as I am sure most
who have read this far.

Cheers,

Charlie .......ZZZZZZZZZZ
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-21-2004, 04:35 PM   #31
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Hello Charlie. I basically agree with everything you wrote, although I am probably more extreme on
most all issues. One important issue I think you missed is gun
ownership. I think all adults (except mental cases
and convicted felons) should be allowed to be licensed
to be
"packin' heat". I trust my fellow citizens a hell of a lot
more than the government.

John Galt
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 11:11 AM   #32
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

I have avoided most of this discussion like the plague, because I don't like to talk about this stuff, makes me crazy.

But I'm wondering, are there gun control laws anywhere that stop people BESIDES convicted felons and mental patients from owning guns? I know that Massachusetts (near me) supposedly has the toughest gun laws in the country, but nobody besides convicted felons and mental patients is actually banned from owning a gun.

Curious,
Anne
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 12:26 PM   #33
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

I really don't know how the U.S. middle class can compete against the emerging middle class in third world countries i.e. India and China. *Our high standard living makes us the highest cost producer of every imaginable service or item. * With the advent of modern information technology, almost any job or service can be done overseas at the fraction of the cost of U.S. labor. *Everything from factory work to financial analyzes to medical services can be done overseas. *The Chinese and Indians alone have millions of highly educated people willing to work in white collar jobs for less than ten dollars a day. *An average salary of 10,000 a year is lot money in the third world. *They are willing to work with no benefits and no overtime pay. *They don't complain about working weekends or ask for a raise. *Many of them have PhD or masters degree with several years of experience in such high tech fields as telecommunications or engineering.

The U.S. work force is in for a rude shock in the coming years. *We are faced with a declining standard of living as we compete against a leaner and more highly motivated global work force. *We will see a declining standard of living in most areas except for government protected monopolies such law or medicine.
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 12:50 PM   #34
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

We've had internal job migrations in the classic North to South - low wages, no unions, etc. Bring a few managers down, etc. I saw that as late as the seventies in LA and AL.

In the aerospace biz - during late 60's, early 70's - a lot of 'green cards went home'. In the 80's some came back, plus I hired a few engr.'s from the rust belt (auto/steel). One guy I hired twice over the years - keep getting a job in Australia - loved the out back (sort a Mad Max with a motorcycle).

This time - different with some similarities. And growing up out west - abandoned towns were old hat - mostly logging, mines, farm centers, old rail stops - some became suburbs.
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:03 PM   #35
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
I have avoided most of this discussion like the plague, because I don't like to talk about this stuff, makes me crazy.

But I'm wondering, are there gun control laws anywhere that stop people BESIDES convicted felons and mental patients from owning guns? *I know that Massachusetts (near me) supposedly has the toughest gun laws in the country, but nobody besides convicted felons and mental patients is actually banned from owning a gun.

Curious,
Anne
I live in Mass, supposedly the toughest laws in the country, but as a law-abiding citizen I had no problem getting a license to carry a concelaed weapon, and the right to own just about any gun except a machine gun; but even in mass, I know people who have a license for one of those to. I guess it depends a lot on the chief of police in your town (unfortunately).
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:12 PM   #36
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
I really don't know how the U.S. middle class can compete against the emerging middle class in third world countries i.e. India and China. *Our high standard living makes us the highest cost producer of every imaginable service or item. * With the advent of modern information technology, almost any job or service can be done overseas at the fraction of the cost of U.S. labor. *Everything from factory work to financial analyzes to medical services can be done overseas. *The Chinese and Indians alone have millions of highly educated people willing to work in white collar jobs for less than ten dollars a day. *An average salary of 10,000 a year is lot money in the third world. *They are willing to work with no benefits and no overtime pay. *They don't complain about working weekends or ask for a raise. *Many of them have PhD or masters degree with several years of experience in such high tech fields as telecommunications or engineering.

The U.S. work force is in for a rude shock in the coming years. *We are faced with a declining standard of living as we compete against a leaner and more highly motivated global work force. *We will see a declining standard of living in most areas except for government protected monopolies such law or medicine.
I agree completely...no way the average person will able to compete; some will thrive, the majority will decline into permanent lower-middle class or lower....

Lucky for me I saw this trend early, and is a big reason I could ER. During the technology boom years, as a contract programmer with my own business, I couldn't find people to hire at any price....so I ended up hiring 8 people in china at $8/hour and then another 6 in russia and billed them all out at my usually consulting rates....(over $100 hour)

Didn't last long, but it was fun while it lasted. (and like I said is why I could payoff the house, put away a pile and then ER).

And these pople I hired, almost ALL of them had PHds in areas like mathematics, physics, etc...and were DELIGHTED to be able to earn $8/hour....so was I part of the problem? maybe, but I did advertised very heavily to hire people locally first to no avail.


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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:47 PM   #37
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

I've spent many years working as an enginner and software developer. In my experience, there's much more money wasted on redesign, cancelled projects, and implementing ideas that are never fully thought through than there is on salaries for engineers. Hiring programmers in India works fine when you know exactly what you want, and can provide a detailed specification and requirements. But this amounts to 70% of the work. For easily specified projects outsourcing makes sense now. However, right here in the US there are companies working on techology that simplifies software development, so that all you have to do is describe what you want, and the tools manufacture the software. So even the $8 and hour Chinese programmers are at risk.

In addition, engineers come up the best solutions when they have close contact with customers. We used to bring engineers to customers sites and have them watch the workflow. They'd come up with unique solutions that delighted the customers, the managers, and sales and marketing folks.

Who's going to manage these programmers, interact with the customers, sell, raise money, ....?

Haven't people saying the same things about 'automation' for the last 70 years?
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:53 PM   #38
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
One important issue I think you missed is gun
ownership. I think all adults (except mental cases
and convicted felons) should be allowed to be licensed
to be
"packin' heat". I trust my fellow citizens a hell of a lot
more than the government.

John Galt
Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.


'packin heat' will not be of much help when the enemy (and the government) are armed with advanced weapons systems, missles, bombs, wmd, and jumbo jets.
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:57 PM   #39
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
Gay "civil unions" with all legal ramifications are only
fair, but the state of "holy matrimony" should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman. To me,
and millions like myself, this is a matter of faith.

I also think stem cell research, on cells earmarked for
destruction, is OK .... my thought is that human life does not begin until the embryo is implanted in a woman's womb. After that I believe that abortion for any reason other than incest, rape or saving the other's life is morally wrong. Again, these are matters of faith with me.
Hi Charlie, I respect your views and agree that these are matters of religion. That's one of the reasons why the government should not be taking a position. --JB
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?
Old 08-22-2004, 01:59 PM   #40
 
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Re: Decline of the U.S. Middle Class?

Quote:
Haven't people saying the same things about 'automation' for the last 70 years?
JB,

Yes, but the labor pool, just got a lot bigger (due to technology) and a lot cheaper. Someone made the point that a rising tide lifts all boats. But in reality that's not true. For the tide to rise on one side of the globe, it falls on another. There is no increase in water in the Oceans. And I believe that this will happen with the labor pool also.

I don't think that this is a problem more than reality and I also think Americans don't have a God given right to a higher standard of living than the rest of the World. The problem lies in the fact that a lot of Americans do think that. And when this trend is realized there will be a politician around that will claim he can fix the problem.
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