Strong Economy For Whom? Things Aren’t So Great for the Average American Worker

by on June 17, 2019 · 35 comments

in Economy, Under the Perfect Sun

By Jim  Miller

A lot of the talk heading into the summer has been about how, despite all of the craziness at the White House, the “economy is strong” under Trump.  And while the stock market has been robust and unemployment low, there is a lot more to the story than what this superficial narrative relays.

What doesn’t get measured by the statistical snapshots that capture headlines or are repeated ad nauseum by talking heads on TV is how the economy is working for the average American at a deeper level.

Thus, when one probes a little bit beneath the surface, the U.S. economy doesn’t look so hot after all.  Perhaps that’s why most Americans, according to recent polling, think the economy is only really working for “those in power.”

Why?

As Jacob Hacker writes in a recent New York Times column, many Americans still feel deeply insecure partly because the employment numbers don’t reveal how “the job market is failing to reach millions of potential workers. That’s because those who aren’t working or looking for work are left out of the unemployment statistics. And the number of such workers has been growing.”

In addition to this, Hacker argues, the old social contract that workers used to rely on is in tatters:

In the mid-20th century, American corporations came to be seen as mini-welfare states, providing workers not only with job security and continuous training but also with generous health benefits and a secure retirement income. That world is gone, and it’s not coming back.

In short, the implicit social contract that once bound employers, families and government has unraveled, and nothing has taken its place.

This unraveling has taken different forms in different areas. In metropolitan America, it’s seen in rising income volatility and the disconnect between wages and the skyrocketing costs of housing, health care and education. In rural and small-town America, the loss of productive employment looms larger. But what I’ve called the “great risk shift” is more or less universal for all Americans.

The economic insecurity Hacker addresses is underlined in a Washington Post  piece by Andrew Van Dam where he outlines some key take-aways from a new Federal Reserve report that illustrates how despite the “good economy,” the sad fact is that “millions of middle-class and low-income Americans still aren’t on solid enough ground to weather a sustained downturn.”

More specifically, 4 in 10 Americans couldn’t put together $400 in cash to meet an emergency expense, 6 in 10 couldn’t meet 3 months of expenses if they lost their jobs, only 36% of workers are on track with their retirement savings, and a quarter of Americans have skipped some kind of medical treatment in the past year because of finances.

Finally, Robert Reich smartly observes in a solid Guardian piece that rather than cowering to the “good economy,” Democrats need to point out how Trump’s policies hurt American workers.  Noting that the difference between how voters view the overall economy and their own personal finances is increasingly significant, Reich reminds us that, “More Americans are employed but most jobs still pay squat. Adjusted for inflation, recent wage gains are smaller than the wage gains of 2015. Workers have lost so much bargaining power that not even the lowest unemployment rate in half a century is doing much to boost pay.”

Reich goes on observe the basic fact that 80% of American workers are living from paycheck to paycheck.   Most workers can’t really afford college, childcare, housing, or healthcare, and Trump “hasn’t done a thing to help.  If anything he’s made everything worse.”

I would add to this that the loss of bargaining power Reich discusses is inextricably linked to the decline of the American union movement that Trump and the Republicans are trying to kill.  Reich is right that, all in all, there is a powerful economic case to be made against Trump whose central economic accomplishment has been to hand huge tax breaks to the rich and corporations who didn’t need them.

So, if the Democrats really want to win, they need to nominate someone who can skillfully make this case.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 17, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Thank you for saying this. The allegedly “strong economy,” mindlessly repeatedly touted by mainstream media, is actually based on low wages, no benefits, a carefully-designed minimum number of hours and even “flexible” work hours scheduled at the last-minute to meet demand. This is true wage slavery, requiring second or even third jobs and constant worry about unforeseen disaster.
Trump has not been the sole architect of this disaster: we have been working up to the recent gigantic Trump tax windfall for the rich for years and years, including every President since Ronald Reagan who got the ball rolling. Let’s be honest: that includes old-style incrementalist Democrats who all leave office richer than when they entered.
Time for change.

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Avatar Tyler June 18, 2019 at 8:07 am

I agree with most of the facts in this, but Jacob Hacker apparently doesn’t know what the U5 unemployment rate is…because it tracks exactly what he discusses and is at record lows.

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Avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 18, 2019 at 2:44 pm

The “record-low unemployment rate” and the monthly tally of “new jobs” do not reveal what underlies our present economy: essentially everybody is flipping burgers, making-do with less and worrying more about an uncertain future.

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Avatar Tyler June 19, 2019 at 5:27 am

Leisure/hospitality job growth trails business/professional services and medical jobs so that’s definitely not true.

https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceshighlights.pdf

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Avatar Geoff Page June 19, 2019 at 9:12 am

Very interesting, Tyler. And surprising, I would have agreed with Frances on that one. I did not expect to see those statistics. Thanks for that link.

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Avatar Tyler June 19, 2019 at 10:25 am

Sure! I love looking at BLS data – a lot of rabbit holes!

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Avatar Geoff Page June 19, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Well, that one made me laugh, Tyler. The picture in my head of someone hunched over and enjoying reading BLS statistics was very funny, thanks again!

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Avatar Tyler June 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm

I’m a nerd of the highest order… what can I say?!

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Avatar Geoff Page June 19, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Your word, not mine Tyler but I have always found nerds to be more interesting than most people. I grew up a Navy kid and have always had a soft spot for nerds. The first people who befriended me in any new place were the nerds, sadly because they were belittled by the people around them and they looked at a new person as a potential new friend. I always made, and stayed, friends with them even though I was usually able to move into social circles they could not. I even found myself protecting them from their tormentors. I like nerds. We need them.

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Avatar Vern June 19, 2019 at 9:56 am

Keep in mind that business and professional services include things like temporary personnel, manufacturing, daycare, warehouse staffing, events & food service/catering, etc., jobs subject to wage stagnation that’s painfully obvious, especially in SD with it’s very sunny “sunshine tax”.

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Avatar Tyler June 19, 2019 at 10:24 am

Manufacturing, Warehousing are separate categories. (see page 3 of my link). Events & food service/catering is to my knowledge part of leisure/hospitality.

Professional/Business services can be borken down into:
Professional, Scientific, and Technical services
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Administrative and Support and Waste Management

I can’t speak to temporary #s, but average hourly earnings is $33.42 and average hours are 35.5.

https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag60.htm

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Avatar Vern June 19, 2019 at 11:06 am

SD cost of living is 44% higher than national average and wages showed -.7% in Q1 2019. Area prices were up 3.8 % from a year ago. Healthcare prices in San Diego are 64% more expensive than the national median. Average hourly earnings in SD translate to @ $29.60/hr.
Minimum wage is currently set at $12.00/hr (or $24, 960.00/year based on a 40 hour work week).

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Avatar Tyler June 19, 2019 at 11:41 am

Where did the $29.60 come from? Not sure what the 2019 numbers are, but in May 2018 it was actually $27.93 so it might be lower than the $29.60 today. The national average then was $24.98, so 12% lower than SD. You’re absolutely right that the 44% higher cost of living in the SD metro area is not level with the 12% higher wages. Add in large cost of healthcare and it’s not a pretty picture for the average citizen of our county.

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Avatar Chris June 18, 2019 at 8:17 am

These two links (one an article from the Washington Post and the other a vid from The Guardian) during the 2016 campaign really stuck with me.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/finally-someone-who-thinks-like-me/2016/10/01/c9b6f334-7f68-11e6-9070-5c4905bf40dc_story.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqceHviNBC4&t=479s

In the YouTube clip, one person interviewed even acknowledged that many of the older out of work miners in his WV town cannot read and write so any retraining programs (which will never happen anyway) would not do them any good, as they would be incapable of being retrained. Perhaps when we refer to people like this as “deplorable”, we need to back off a bit. We need to have some sympathy for them regardless of the damage Trump has done. Their sheer desperation and to a large degree their lack of education with no chance to change that is the #1 factor why Trump resonated with them. Not too surprisingly, things are not better in the slightest for them or most people as this article points out and I hate to say this but Trump will likely get a 2nd term.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 18, 2019 at 9:39 am

No intending to be harsh, but people have to take some responsibility for their lives, Chris. You wrote “We need to have some sympathy for them regardless of the damage Trump has done.” People who never took the time to learn to read and write have some responsibility for the position they are in. I just re-watched Alexdra Pelosi’s documentary “Outside the Bubble.” In one scene, she is recording some young coal miners who lost their jobs when their mine closed. They are out in the woods barbecuing and drinking and one guy gives a little speech saying that people in the rest of the country think they are all a bunch of hicks. He then points of a quad and says “That’s $20,000 there” points to another and says “That’s $20,000 there” and points to a third quad and says “That’s $30,000 there.” He says “Hell, we spend thousands of dollars to go out in the woods to drink beer.” The idea of spending that money to get some education would be laughable to them. All I’m saying is that it is not all someone else’s fault.

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Avatar Chris June 18, 2019 at 10:37 am

I don’t disagree they could have made some better choices or that they’re purely victims with no control. But, as the saying goes, poverty breeds poverty. And a big part of that is the mentality people who grow up with it develop. And it’s passed down from generation to generation.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 18, 2019 at 12:13 pm

I completely agree with that, Chris. In the same documentary, she interviews another young coal miner, in his 30s it appeared. He said that people would go right from high school to the mines, then he said that actually, many of them went straight from junior high, as soon as they could run a shovel. The incentive to improve themselves was clearly lacking. That said, it is hard to make an allowance for people who did not at least make the effort to learn how to read and write.

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Avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 18, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Hi Chris and Geoff — are we responding to the same piece by Jim Miller?
I have a news flash for you. The damage done to the people you are describing has been happening for generations: it’s not a recent Trump phenomenon.
Also, adults are educable. Literacy skills can be taught to anyone older than age four. But you need a society that values literacy to fund programs with enough skilled teachers to do the difficult job. We have lacked that capacity for 50 years at least.

Rather than “make allowance” for illiterate fellow citizens or imagine the “mentality” of our poor neighbors in the richest country on the face of the earth, imagine what it must be like to have spent a lifetime unable to read. Stigma and shame attach to that condition as well as disenfranchisement from economic and social opportunity and personal pleasure. Learning to read as an adult is difficult: it takes time and commitment from students and requires patience and encouragement from extraordinary teachers. But it is doable.

Even better than learning to read late in life would be a society where everyone learns to read when they are children, in small classrooms with excellent credentialed teachers. Cuba managed to approach 100% literacy, but apparently we’re not there yet. Maybe it’s you and I who are lazy and resigned and lack incentive to change the status quo.

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Avatar Chris June 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Well hi there Frances. Yes I am fully aware their situation happening for generations. That was kind of my point and why Trump appealed to them. Not sure what you mean by “make allowances” but if you are saying we shouldn’t have to make such allowances by having the kind of society you describe, I don’t know anyone who would disagree. Cuba I think is a bit extreme tho.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 18, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Ms. Zimmerman, as much as I detest the orange-haired resident in the White House, I would certainly not blame him for this problem and I did not say so.

It is not so much that society does not value literacy, it is that it is in the best interests of some people to keep people ignorant and thus powerless, like coal miners. The record of education in this country is all over the spectrum depending on where the money is. Even in a microcosm like the County of San Diego, that can be seen.

Yes, learning to read as an adult is hard, no doubt. But, anyone who cannot do so in the 21st century and makes no effort to learn has to share some of the responsibility, that was all I was saying. That is a person who has to fully rely on, or prefers to rely on, other people to get by in the world and that is hard to fathom. People who can afford $20,000 quads can afford to pay for some education.

Comparing a country with a population that has a population that is 3.5% of the population in this country and .0001 the land mass of the U.S. is really not a fair comparison. There are parts of this country that do a pretty good job of education, just not all.

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Avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 19, 2019 at 6:10 pm

I was referring to Geoff Page’s comment, “It’s hard to make an allowance for people who did not at least make the effort to learn to read and write.”
I think it’s hard to make allowances for a rich country that doesn’t educate all its people from childhood, regardless of whether they mine coal or clip coupons.
(And Cuba is only “extreme” in its poverty, its extraordinary perseverance in the face of crippling U.S. economic sanctions and extremely high literacy rate, a priority for Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.)

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Avatar Chris June 19, 2019 at 7:38 pm

100 percent literacy is a great thing, but an autocratic dictatorship is quite a price to pay to achieve that.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 20, 2019 at 9:28 am

Very well said, Chris.

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Avatar Chris June 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm

Geoff, I think we are pretty much on the same page (at least as far as personal responsibility). But, these are areas of the country that were pretty much neglected. Somehow Trump knew how to resonate with the populations in these areas. We all agree he’s a con man.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm

I agree. I think the reason Trump resonated with them is because he made a point of talking to them directly and lying to them. It’s akin to how a person feels when a person of importance remembers your name, something politicians have used forever. It makes you feel good. And, unfortunately, these people have no perspective of history or politics. They just know he said their names and said he’d make their lives better. Sadly, all it took was an empty promise.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

“I think it’s hard to make allowances for a rich country that doesn’t educate all its people from childhood, regardless of whether they mine coal or clip coupons.” The people interviewed by Pelosi said they dropped out of school, meaning they had schools. Why do you make this statement, what has this country done wrong? There are public school systems in every state, how is that a failure? You can’t make people learn or want to learn. The opportunity is there. Yes, poverty is a factor but that is a much larger issue.

I don’t understand this fixation with Cuba, it is not realistic comparison. Costa Rica has a very high literacy rate around 97% that dwarfs the adjoining countries. But that took virtually eliminating the native population and turning it into a fiefdom for United Fruit. We can’t do what Cuba or Costa Rica did. We provide an opportunity and if people choose not to use it, how does that make us a bad country?

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Avatar Chris June 20, 2019 at 7:24 pm

I agree Geoff and not only is it not a realistic comparison, Cuba also lacks a lot of opportunities.

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Avatar Vern June 21, 2019 at 5:29 am

“… Cuba also lacks a lot of opportunities….”. Is this through the eyes of US Imperialism? Perhaps Cuba has all the opportunities it needs.

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Avatar Rufus June 21, 2019 at 6:01 am

Eye-roll.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 20, 2019 at 5:08 pm

How did this article’s premise get hijacked to who did or didn’t learn to read and somehow deserves their poverty-ridden fate and to adding in Trump somehow and NOT talking about the useless ‘officially approved by wealthy neoliberals in the DNC’ candidates in the Democratic line-up that one of them who will supposedly wrestle Trump to the ground next year? I mean, if you’re gonna go off tangent you might as well throw it all out!

Which, by the way, I don’t see happening at all. Impeachment? Not a chance! And if you think Trump is bad, you’d best start reading up on religious freak Dominionist VP Pence’s words and actions over the years to really start worrying about a Theocratic State (also known as The Inquisition). Make sure you re-read the Handmaid’s Tale book while you’re reading Pence.

But back to the article above. Really, doesn’t anybody understand the Capitalist Monopoly Game that is being played here? There aren’t enough crappy can’t-rent-a-1 bedroom apartment with a 40 hour a week job for the kids that just graduated from high school much less the millions throw out of work or downsized (I LOVE that term don’t you?) or at Walmart going mad from the DE-humanizing corporate structure!

So out of those millions of kids who became adults this month, a large percentage are NOT going to find a decent paying job, or even two crappy jobs, and be able to move the hell out of mama’s house anytime soon. Those possible millions that don’t even find a job will NOT be included into the ‘unemployment statistics’ because they can’t file for unemployment!

Poof! Better unemployment numbers! Just disappear anyone you don’t like!

If you can’t file you must be working. Or else maybe you’re not trying hard enough or you never learned to read…. get the sarcasm?

Reality is that millions aren’t added in. It’s way damn worse.
_____________

Reality is also thinking about the BUYING POWER of current crappy jobs. Wow, $15 bucks an hour. HOGWASH! Minimum wage in 1968, when my dad was painting houses in the summertime in the beach areas and I was his unpaid helper, you’d have to be earning at least $22 an hour to equal the buying power now. That’s just minimum then to not even comparable to Federal minimum wage now.

300% LOWER buying power than 1968 in real terms.

Buying power is the key here, folks, along with the far larger group of people disappeared from the labor stats that don’t have any buying power.

I bought a 1 yr old used Toyota 4x in 1994 from a dealer in Redding and paid EXACTLY the same for it as my dad did for his 2 bedroom 1 & 1/2 bath attached 2 car garage w/laundry room on a double lot in University City in 1970. Total for either was just under $22,000. Rent for the Mission Beach house he moved from; 2 bedroom 1 bath, kitchen, dining room, laundry, 1 car garage, old 1 room 1920s landtrack office in the backyard, was $165 a month. Front room even had a fireplace!

The house in OB at 2151 Sunset Cliffs Blvd that I ran Seal’s Ding Repair out of for years in the 80s was $400 a month. It was a 2 bdrom, bath, kitchen, house with both garages, a small back yard, and two car parking in front of the garage next to the kitchen door. Anybody wanna stop by and ask the current renters what they’re paying? Or has it turned into another unsightly apartment house?

All this breaks down to is how well Capitalism is working out. And it is! For the few which is the entire point of the ideology. But it is VERY easy to prove just how disastrous the end result of Capitalism is.

Ever play Monopoly all the way to the end of the game? I mean to the last dollar, the last piece of property? Tell me in your own words what it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.

No? Okay, I’ll tell you then because I’m a noisy old surfer dude.

One person owning everything, everyone else living in cardboard boxes on the street without a Monopoly dollar to their name…starving in the streets.

Whoopsie! Sounds like what we’ve got going on all over the country doesn’t it? Do you look at the homeless you walk by? Make eye contact? Ever take a homeless person to lunch or dinner and TALK with them? You might learn something (though some are pretty spacey I must admit).

Since Monopoly the game was invented by a woman trying to teach the ignorant in this country about the dangers facing them from this insidious form of slavery (total economic control by the wealthy), it somehow turned into ‘fun for the whole family’ as one person impoverishes the rest. Never noticed it was much fun for all the losers, though. I’ve seen kids cry when they get ripped off by the slumlord who is their sister or brother or dad or mom or granny or auntie.

But to really play it the way Capitalism is being run today, use loaded dice and only allow one person to control the rolls. And who also can make up new rules when needed (like corporate heads buying politicians who are supposed to regulate them).

Oh, and make sure that person starts off with a million dollars while the rest just get the usual $2,500. It’ll make the game SO MUCH more realistic and it won’t take half the night to finish the game. There is only one end result.

Lots of unemployed Monopoly Game losers who can’t collect unemployment!

Remember, in Capitalism the losers are just ‘collateral damage.’ That eventually means you and your family because they ain’t ever gonna let you join the ranks of what comedian George Carlin spoke of so well.

Anybody still pull out Carlin now and then and listen to what he said? Angry Genius!

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Peter from South O June 21, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Seal, you gonna LOVE this!
https://www.theartistoutpost.com/

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Avatar Rufus June 21, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Dang, would you like some cheese with that whine?

Capitalism has been berry berry good to me. I got educated in public schools (PLHS), I paid attention, didn’t smoke dope, I worked hard, I didn’t spend myself into debt, I didn’t surf away my life, I married a parter who worked hard, I didn’t divorce, I bought a cheap house in OB, had kids, bought a better house in OB, kids went to PLHS then SDSU, got really good jobs because they work hard and now they, at 32 and 34, own houses in OB. Everybody in the family drives 10 year old cars, we shop at Smart and Final, nobody owns a boat or a jetski, but we live well.

It can be done, but it’s really, really hard work. And some people are cut out for hard work and focus on their life goals, and others aren’t. Just the way things are.

Whining only make it worse.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 21, 2019 at 10:08 pm

Peter from South O,

Well thanks that was so freaking cool to see. I had no idea! It’s the same living room, the two big south and west facing corner windows with the same front door and peep hole but full of easels and kids painting. Gave me a BIG smile! I liked living in that house.

I have a box full of pictures from the years in that house. Hell, Viv and I got married in summer of ’82 in the back yard where I buffed out boards when it wasn’t raining! Great memory lane stuff, eh?

I love the thought that the house has been turned into a place to create art after all these years. Fiberglassing is an art, too, it’s about eye and lines and flow. What they are doing there now keeps it in the character I had it in from almost 40 years ago. Very cool. Thank you for posting that!
__________

Yep Rufus, I’ll agree that it does sound like Capitalism has been okay for you and yours as part of the upper half of the working class. There has always been a need for a buffer between the tiny Owner Class and the majority of the working class who barely make ends meet working two jobs. Or don’t. Hey, somebody’s always going to win the lottery in the mass of workers under the 1% income level. Trouble is that the available wealth to be shared is quite rapidly shrinking.

It’s because the glass on top of the pyramid of glasses keeps getting bigger. Instead of the ‘whine’ spilling down to the glasses in the rows below and filling them up along with the top, it seems that even with the radically increased profits from using near-slave labor factories overseas, the ‘whine’ never seem to be enough for filling much of the lower glasses. Not enough ‘whine’ is allowed to make it over the rim to do that, but it is just enough to keep some of the working class stabile and quiet, divorced from the plight of those below their status level where they barely get a drop or two.

The top goblet keeps growing instead, like a cancer polyp. That’s what we’ve got in this country.

Capitalism goes hand in hand with the wealthy that crashed the freaking economy in 2007/08 by lying and cheating and flat-out fraud, and then got Bailed Out by the government and nobody got arrested or thrown off a cliff? How’s that work again?

But hey, the system is working just like it is supposed to. And the wealthy need that underclass to keep the real questions from being asked. Helps that they own all the news media, too, where 85% of the US gets its ‘information’ from. Hmmmm. What did Mark Twain say about government lies by commission and omission? Tip of my tongue but you probably get the intent.

So my question is that all we can expect is a continued drain of the wealth of the country into the top percentile so that, bluntly, there is less and less to divide up as more and more people grow up to enter the work force? That’s the slippery slope we have been sliding down for going on four decades of Trickle Down economics with the corporations continuing to find cheaper and cheaper 3rd world labor to exploit…

Man, isn’t it terrible that even Hershey’s Chocolate Bars and L.L Bean aren’t even made in this country anymore? That all the ‘American-built cars’ use parts’ that are made in China? Hell, if Trump or whomever started a war with China we’d have to order from Chinese factories all the steel to build the tanks and ships beforehand! Oh wait, we already do!

Fewer and fewer jobs out there, Rufus. And most of the ones that the feds are crowing about being ‘created’ are called dead-end jobs, service jobs with little hope of much of anything. What used to be called the ‘entry level’ jobs for teenagers. Unions have been beheaded except for really strong ones like the cops and other gov employees…funny how that is.

It seems we traded Ordained by God Kings & Queens for… Kings and Queens of Excessive Capitalism. All hail Wall Street and the corporate owners! S/

That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t look at, remark on, or try to influence change due to the failings of a system designed to HAVE a crushed impoverished bottom working class to use up to increase the wealth of those at the sharp point of the income triangle.

As for the lifestyle choices you commented on, ummmm okay, and? Went to Pt. Loma High and didn’t smoke weed? I thought all you guys did at that school. Hell, even W Bush and Obama and Clinton smoked lots of weed, and Nixon was a drunk who beat his wife into the hospital numerous times, and they all became Presidents (and probably make a LOT more money that you do for that matter because I know they sure do by me!). At least back in the late 60s & early 70s you Pt. Loma guys were noted for bringing in late night boatloads of weed into those secret coves at the Cliffs. Way better than the Mission Bay High jocks (who all seemed to be binge drinkers) but not the La Jolla High crowd who had access to a lot more free cash for their parties. I went to both schools.

4.0 GPA my first year in college and it wasn’t basketweaving and macrame classes. And I was surfing and smoking cannabis AND reading books. Eddycation, ain’t it grand?

But you didn’t surf the Cliffs? Or you quit riding waves in favor of…making money thinking you couldn’t do both? Didn’t quite understand where you were going with that.

Never been out on a boat at Ralph’s watching hammerheads go by? Nope, we didn’t go in the water that morning…not with two 12 footers in the line up. But having whales blowing as you sit floating on your board maybe 30 yards away…and seeing them looking at you eye to eye contact…life experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

As for lifestyle, I drive in winter a 1993 Toyota 4×4 that I bought in 1994 with 225,000 miles on it, while the dry season car is a 1980 Toyota Corona LE 4 door that gets 40mph on the 22R engine put in it but it has 310,000 miles. But I’ll admit the Corona is kinda roached inside but the electric sunroof still works and it doesn’t leak in the rain! I have no mortgage on this 8 acres of forested property halfway up a ridgeline, no boat no jetski no camper or 5th wheel no cell phone no tv no microwave in the kitchen. Two wells on the property with good water, my 1,200 sq foot sew shop so I sew a LOT of my own clothing especially for winter. It’s 50 miles to the nearest mall so I don’t go down to the city much.

And the sew shop building is also a snowboard museum holding the largest collection of pre-1991 snowboards in the state (according to ski resort managers I know who’ve been in there). And it’s 25 miles to the parking lot of the hill I surf snow and teach free lessons on all winter. I play music at the local jams having been a musician for most of my life, still do a fiberglass repair now and then for friends-mostly on boats unless it’s fixing my own boards after a trip to the rocky coast of the Olympic Peninsula, and I teach free self defense lessons in the dojo built into an add-on room in the downstairs that opens from the music room that is based on much of what I learned from Rey Leal at the United Karate Federation of OB at the top of Newport through the 1980s.

And I have a medical card and grow my own cannabis, make CBD paste that is the best soft-tissue pain reliever ever (great on lower backs, yanked muscles, bursitis, hammer hits to fingers, etc etc), and have a house full of music, books, and movies.

Lifestyle choices. Do I have a lot of money? Nope. Am I rich? Yep.

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Doug Blackwood June 23, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Wow, what a volume of comments!
1. Pence is the real danger: just pray Trump doesn’t OD in his tanning bed.

2. Ethics seem obsolete, with pervasive greed at all levels, while leaders lie continuously, powers that be simply don’t care: that most of us are 3 paychecks away from being on the streets; “but even the president of the united states,must sometimes have to stand naked”!

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 24, 2019 at 9:27 pm

Doug, I agree Pence is one seriously scary religious freak. Dead cold shark eyes and a serious Sociopath personality. This guy is totally frightening!

sealintheSelkirks

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