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We hear a lot about how outsourcing reduced cost and the corporations have improved the quality of life for us all.

Just some figures drawn from http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/

1965

Average Cost of new house $13,600.00 [2.1 times average income]
Average Income per year $6,450.00
Loaf of bread 21 cents [0.0033% of income]
Average Cost of a new car $2,650.00 [41% of income]
Gas per Gallon 31 cents [0.0048% of income]
Average Rent per month $118,00 [annual 22% of income]

2008

Average Cost of new house $232,880.00 [5.9 times annual income]
Average Income per year $39,423.00
Loaf of bread $1.68 [0.0043% of income]
Average Cost of a new car $30,000 [MRSP] [76% of income]
Cost of a gallon of Gas $2.73 [0.0069% of income] [now much higher]
Average Monthly Rent $675.00 [annual 27% of income]

Mother Jones also has a few charts that tell the story, I have chosen one:

change-since-1979-600

In the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent. This huge increase in productivity is partly due to automation, the internet, and other improvements in efficiency. But it's also the result of Americans working harder—often without a big boost to their bottom lines. Oh, and meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent.

So we really should be better off?

Meanwhile

Over the last 40 years, the U.S. federal tax system has undergone three striking changes, each of which seems to move the federal tax system in the direction of less progressivity. First, there has been a dramatic decline in top marginal individual income tax rates.

and

For example, the top 0.01 percent of earners paid over 70 percent of their income in federal taxes in 1960, while they paid only about 35 percent of their income in 2005.

So the myth of trickle down is busted wide open.

look-at-the-wealth-gap-grow

What it has generated is income inequality. If you look at the charts we are now in a similar position as in the 1920's and we all know what happened next.

So the question is how is progress of a Nation judged? If it based upon  the average citizen then we are in steady decline. If it is based on a miniscule minority then we are doing great.

So these last two graphs should come as no surprise?

trust

american-who-trust-the-government-to-do-the-right-thing

Politicians should beware the dips, things tend to change.
.

It seems to me that Americans in general have been being paying much more attention than they are often credited for; something has to give.

Originally posted to LaFeminista on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:08 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stats support what I knew already. (8+ / 0-)

    I bought my last new vehicle in 1990. As with my previous new vehicles, I paid for it in full the day I bought it. It was a 1990 Chevrolet 3/4 ton, two wheel drive pickup. I bought it for $10,000 plus my old truck. I still have it. Last year I bought a used 2003 Buick Century for town trips, but I'm still waiting to accumulate enough cash to buy a new truck while sticking to my policy of not buying anything on credit.

  •  We need to come up with a new.... (8+ / 0-)

    measure to replace the DOW, so that  every night we can hear how we are doing as a society.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:23:43 AM PDT

    •  How About Gross National Happiness (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, flowerfarmer, m16eib, addisnana
      The assessment of gross national happiness (Dzongkha: རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དགའ་སྐྱིད་དཔལ་འཛོམས་; Wylie: rgyal-yongs dga'a-skyid dpal-'dzoms) or "GNH" was designed in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of gross domestic product (GDP).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      The 60 Minute program on it was staggering. They work hard, even growing most of their food. Few have power or running water. But they are about the most happy people in the world.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:59:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's religiously based and it's not for us. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, lostinamerica, m16eib

        I admire Bhutan and I wish them the best, but it's not a model that would work here.  Before Bhutan there was a country in the 1970s that was considered poor but happy--Sri Lanka, and that didn't end well!  You can't beat homogeneity.

        As a PS, Bhutan isn't homogeneous after all: it has some Hindus, of Nepali ethnicity.  Not surprisingly, Bhutan's otherwise humane government says they're all illegal immigrants and herds them into camps or otherwise marginalizes them.  Even the happiest country on Earth needs someone to kick, apparently.

        Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

        by Rich in PA on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:38:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  RFK addressed this question in this 1968 speech (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dump Terry McAuliffe

          at the University of Kansas:

          Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

          I've read and reread that passage countless times over the years.  It still brings tears to me eyes today.  Sadly, it could be received more favorably in a country then that, as this diary notes, was radically different economically from our country today.

          As I noted below, a POTUS seeking re-election w/ current economic figures (and the projected 2012 figures)  is basically conceding defeat.  When economic circumstances are that bleak and when the GOP field is that bats**t crazy, economic considerations trump everything else.  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs comes to the fore here.

          I'm still coming to grips w/ how far we've fallen as a country in the last 30 years or so.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 08:54:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Median wage is fine (0+ / 0-)

      The only reason that people are looking for alternates is that they do not want to do anything about flat median wages.

  •  That First Chart Of Yours Is Key IMHO (7+ / 0-)

    That is why companies are not hiring. They've figured out how to do more with less, while making more profits. I mean why would they hire more people? I don't know why more folks don't talk about this.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:35:38 AM PDT

    •  I thought so... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, flowerfarmer, m16eib

      ;-)

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:42:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In near term WH conceding U3 of 9% in 2012 totally (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dump Terry McAuliffe, alizard

        blew me away.  As per today's lead story in our national paper of record:

        The government report on hiring, released on Friday, prompted another round in a relentless diminution of economic expectations. The unemployment rate, at 9.1 percent, did not change last month, and the White House said it was expected to stay that high through at least 2012.

        Let's repeat that last clause one more time:the White House said it was expected to stay that high through at least 2012.  Unless I missed the fact that the election has been postponed until 2013, what's the point of even mounting a re-election campaign?  Since BLS started keeping stats in 1948, no incumbent has won w/ U3 of >7.2%.  This WH is conceding a likely U3 roughly 2 points higher, and U6 (a more accurate measurement) lingers >16%.

        U3 in high 7's was fatal to Ford's chances in 1976, and U3 in mid-to-high 7's was equally fatal to GHWB in 1992.  Given that history, U3 of >9% will be beyond fatal to Obama's chances next year.

        Yes, I know, FDR won landslide re-election w/ a 9.9% unemployment rate.  Since it was 20.6% (by the more accurate Darby measurement) when he took office, however, cutting it in half looked relatively good.  Since U3 was 8.2% when Obama took over, having a figure that's about 1 point higher (and that has been >9% almost his entire term) is the political equivalent of a sucking chest wound.

        I greatly appreciate this diary of your usual quality, but I also wanted to point out the likelihood of a GOP victory next year.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 08:16:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  whistling in the dark (0+ / 0-)

          I know of no places where austerity budgets had any results other than increased income for the handful on top, reduced national economic output, increased unemployment, and drastically increased human suffering.

          And the IMF/World Bank has been forcing austerity on Third World countries for generations.

          I think official UI will be closer to 15% with real close to twice that, and my guess may be optimistic.

          Just to put this into perspective, the backstory to the London riot was . . . a year of austerity programs.

          By the time November 2012 rolls around, the US will have had a year of "austerity"

          Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:47:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Tax Code Is A Joke (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, Eiron, priceman, m16eib, alizard

    and of course it favors the rich. Until just a few years ago I did my taxes. You know the EZ form. Then I started to work for myself and it got a little harder. Well a lot harder. I hired a CPA. I was stunned how you could legally "game" the system. That is why billionaires pay less of a percentage of their income then the person that gets their coffee. They can afford to hire a team of lawyers and CPAs to game the system. The person making $25,000/year, not so much.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 04:43:00 AM PDT

  •  A nation progresses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, entlord, m16eib

    when what has been formerly judged a misfortune is seen as an injustice.  

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:00:45 AM PDT

  •  We can start by replacing GDP (6+ / 0-)

    GNP measures income and we would have some discussion about income inequality. It was also used in addition with GDP, but with GDP our for profit health care monster that dens't really benefit society at the ratio we pay for like twice as much as other modern industrialized nations but that shows up as GDP growth and we say yay to our dismay!

    GDP masked massive economic problems with Argentina too and since we are headed that way, perhaps it's time to dump it, and bring in a happiness index among other thins because those things are much better metrics.

    Thanks for the diary, LaFeminsta. You are a most excellent poster.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

    by priceman on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:03:24 AM PDT

    •  We Should Look At Happiness (6+ / 0-)

      For like my first 15 years after college I worked in DC. Worked 70 hours weeks. Made a ton of money. But it took me a couple hours a day just to get to and from work. My local library was literally the Library of Congress. But I hardly ever went.

      One day I asked myself why I was living this way, cause I wasn't happy. So my friends and co-workers were all stunned when I packed up and move back to the small rural town I grew up.

      They didn't understand.

      I said there wasn't any traffic. I could have a garden. I could be around my family. The cost of living was a fraction of what it was in DC. Heck I didn't even have to worry about locking my front door. Heck people you don't even know wave and say hi.

      Those things all make me happy.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It boils down to disposable income (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, m16eib

    There is a basic cost to live - as long as you're covering the basics (ie living paycheck to paycheck) - you cannot accrue wealth.

    Wealthy people are those who don't spend beyond their means and then invest the excess - compound interest is a nice thing (maybe not at today's rates).

    I think we focus too much on taxing rather than how we can increase our income or reduce our expenses.

    I don't think it is possible to redistribute wealth.  You can redistribute to elevate those below the fixed threshold to get them to survival mode but that's about it.

    IMHO - unless the plan is to empower the individual - it won't work.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:08:36 AM PDT

    •  In the Sole Half Century of All Civilization (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m16eib, addisnana, alizard

      that created a large comfortable middle class, it was accomplished by taxation of the rich.

      It's not merely possible to redistribute wealth, it was accomplished, as the foundation of the greatest exercise of governance in human history.

      You already have one party, you don't need ours.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:18:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't care what things cost. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, lostinamerica

    They cost what they cost, and in some cases the additional expense is compensates with size and quality--you may not want that quality (cars) or size (houses), but clearly the inputs cost more than they used to.  I'm only interested in taxes and government services, because that's what makes everything OK for people who may not be doing too well in the general economy.  What can I say--I'm a liberal.  I wish the President were one as well.

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:36:21 AM PDT

  •  As A Success! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m16eib, addisnana, alizard

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    --by its owners.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:14:49 AM PDT

  •  saw a comparison of wage increases for workers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m16eib, alizard

    and CEOs 1975-present along with other various stats which found worker wages are more or less stagnant at best while CEO pay is higher than for other industrialized countries and its rate of increase and its average increase outstrips any reason behind such an increase, such as an increase in profitability or efficiency or production; instead it was found some of the highest paid CEOs were also the most inept, so it now appears most new CEOs now make necessary changes in a corporation to maximize their salaries and benefits and to ensure a golden parachute before they take any other action.

    o  

  •  Yay Capitalism!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Not.

    You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor.

    by psychodrew on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 07:24:47 AM PDT

  •  Folks agree something is wrong (0+ / 0-)

    Just half of them believe the answer is less government.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 07:41:15 AM PDT

  •  Not this way :} (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard

    Is society liveable and is life good?  Is there room in it to find out who you are and have what you need?  

    We're failing outright, but whether people rent, own, or have access to the middle class dream is only important, I think, insofar as it encourages the idea we all have a stake in the experiment and every person is worth medical care, a roof, food, and if disabled, the resources to live with reasonable independence.   And yeah, having a working middle class is terribly important to that...but it sure isn't the end all and be all.

    I think we're going to get poorer, and things are going to cost more, simply because America, and the west generally, no longer has a monopoly on technology.  But we'll still -- in relative terms -- be quite well off.  More to the point, I think we will either decide to put a floor on society -- a level where people don't go below -- or else we're going to start dumping people wholesale, just cutting out huge swaths (or more huge swaths) of people as too this, or too that, to be allowed to participate as anything but disposable and desperate units.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 08:21:20 AM PDT

  •  Progress is seldom just money (0+ / 0-)

    I can agree that there are lots of failures where progress hasn't occurred.

    But here's the progress I've seen:

    In 1965, you were before Voting Rights Acts
    In 1965, an Interracial Marriage could get your arrested or beaten in areas of the country.

    In 1965, there was no Americans with Disabilities Act, and we ran far more Insane Asylums, imprisoning people who needed help.

    In 1965, you're new car was far more likely to be a death trap as federal safety standards were still a ways away.

    Progress is a complicated animal.   It's part social.   It's part standard of living.  It's part cultural.  It's part community.  

    There have been set backs.   There have been great accomplishments.   I will look every day to improve on the setbacks, but I also have to admire the great accomplishments.

    Between 1965 and today, we went to the moon; we ended the cold war; we empowered the disabled, we developed breakthrough drugs and treatments.

    There are certainly failures.. but if I were judging the nation on progress, I would say: it's slower then I wish it was.. and I will constantly yell "faster faster", but for the people who were in 1965 looking forward, they would say: how incredible some of it is.

    Ghandi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humility; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:08:47 AM PDT

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