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Reich writes: "The economy is twice as large as it was three decades ago, and yet the typical American is earning about the same, adjusted for inflation."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)


No We Are Not Living Beyond Our Means

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

31 May 13

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GFYi6bi7G4

 

ven as the economy slowly recovers from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, government-haters and deficit-hawks are sticking to their same story: Americans have lived beyond their means and must now learn to live within them.

The reality is quite different: The means of most Americans haven't kept up with what the economy could and should provide. The economy is twice as large as it was three decades ago, and yet the typical American is earning about the same, adjusted for inflation. All the gains have been going to the top.

The notion that we can't afford to invest in the education of our young, or rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, or continue to provide Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, or expand health insurance is absurd.

If the median wage had kept up with the overall economy, it would be over $90,000 today - and tax revenues would be more than adequate to cover all our needs. If the wealthy were paying the same marginal tax rate they were paying up to 1981, tax revenues would be far more.

Get it? The problem isn't that most Americans have been living too well. The problem is we haven't been living nearly as well as our growing economy should have allowed us to live.

Widening inequality is the culprit. If President Obama is looking for a central theme for his second term, this is it.



Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

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+91 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-05-31 13:16
Elizabeth Warren for President 2016. Take back our government. Vote the leeches out, repeal Citizens United, boycott the corporations that are killing us, cut the military machine down to size. Wake up America.
 
 
-51 # edge 2013-05-31 16:23
Quoting PABLO DIABLO:
Elizabeth Warren for President 2016. Take back our government. Vote the leeches out, repeal Citizens United, boycott the corporations that are killing us, cut the military machine down to size. Wake up America.


When PIGS fly!
 
 
+13 # T4D 2013-05-31 21:05
In Iowa at caucus time pigs do fly.
 
 
+23 # reiverpacific 2013-05-31 17:46
Quoting PABLO DIABLO:
Elizabeth Warren for President 2016. Take back our government. Vote the leeches out, repeal Citizens United, boycott the corporations that are killing us, cut the military machine down to size. Wake up America.

Absolutely.
Trouble is 'average' Americans are in a somnambulistic state opiated by the flick'rin' screen and it's never ending commercials with the empty of content programming between, sucking on syrup 'super-size' drinks, tasteless, gassy 'lite' beer, plastic pizza, or similar goop and swallowing the owner-media apology for news like fish on a barbed hook, fearful of losing their ever more tentative jobs if they have one and ignorant of the world around and outside their own little circumscribed sphere whilst being just one paycheck or less from joining the many and increasing homeless, with no healthcare in an increasingly mean-spirited, anti-social society (just read the posts of the occasional reactionary that pops up on RSN and you'll see what I mean; there's one here).
It's hard to get such critters up and out to vote and be activist, let alone do so with knowledge and conviction.
But we have to keep pushing back.
 
 
+7 # T4D 2013-05-31 21:04
Count this Iowan in!
 
 
+47 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-05-31 13:34
My dear old business math professor at a major university would occasionally interrupt his mathematical passions and then do "soap box" on why the U.S. could head for "no growth" in consumer income. His thoughts were simple. (and I wish his business math were as simple.) He essentially said and this was during the Vietnam era: "you cannot have it both ways. When your government spends recklessly on 'boots on the ground' and war machinery, the consumers will suffer." His most penetrating thought was that "military spending is inverse to consumer well-being." Look around at those countries which do not devote massive amounts of consumer tax money to military spending. What is their quality of life? The U.S. spends more on military "boots on the ground" and military hardware than the next 13 countries combined. Most Republicans and some Democrats divert our citizens tax money, money which should go toward improving our social well-being into military spending. "America, the greatest country in the world" when it come to killing our neighbors. Maybe, eventually, ourselves?
 
 
+12 # mdhome 2013-05-31 18:47
Amen!
 
 
+6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-06-01 23:27
Socialism and corporate welfare is here to stay for the military industrial complex as long as the citizens permit their tax dollars to flow into killing our neighbors.
Will take a great leader to convince the U.S. citizens that since the vast majority of U.S. citizens such as perhaps you and I are being victimized by the U.S. politicians to divert our tax dollars to Socialism and jobs programs for "them," while we have to "adapt" to Social Security and Medicare cuts. I find it interesting that "we" the workers and our employers pay for Social Security and Medicare funding and the Social Security funds are stuffed with IOUs (money diverted to pay for wars) while the military, Pentagon gets a blank check. You know, we could start becoming the greatest country (citizens) in the world if we could force war hawks like John McCain to just quit looking for countries he would like to bomb.
 
 
+1 # Cassandra2012 2013-06-03 16:17
Bags of money are STILL flying into Afghanistan via the CIA!!
 
 
-13 # dkonstruction 2013-05-31 13:34
That the economy has doubled in size over the last 3 decades is a completely separate issue from the issue of whether "we" have been living "beyond our means."

The problem is that much of the "growth" in the economy has been fueled by debt (both individual consumer, corporate and gov't). Reich is fully aware of this as he has addressed in other pieces he's written.

But the point I don't think he addresses (in large part because I don't think he agrees with this analysis) is that this debt was needed by the system in order to "artificially" keep the rate of profits up (after the profit squeeze -- or put another way, capitalisms tendency for the rate of profit to fall). How one views the causes of the current crisis is not simply an academic exercise in that it has implications for what one views as the potential solutions in terms of policies and practices. It also shifts the discussion from individuals living beyond their means to a discussion of how the system as a whole tries to solve its own internal contradictions (in this case the tendency of the rate of profit to fall). It also has implications for understanding why corporate America in particular is not rushing to hire the millions of unemployed and how they expect to continue to fuel THEIR recovery even if it means that most Americans experience no such recovery or if they do that once again it is largely fueled by debt (or by inflating other assets like stocks and real estate leading to yet another bubble).
 
 
+30 # Barkingcarpet 2013-05-31 13:36
Robert, you may be as crazy as the rest of em, and few to none of "you" economists, speak for me or for the true wealth and economy.

The "principal" of Nature, is what all of our pyramid schemes are built upon, and our notion of "profit" is disconnected insanity.

The only "profits" to be found, are in actual improvements to the diversity and health of living natural systems, which strengthen all life.

Our "economy" built on greed, gluttony, and the destruction and exploitation of Nature, which belongs to ALL life, is a lie.

Our economy is a fantasy based upon unlimited and infinite natural resources which somehow are expected to be healthy, replenish and grow despite the worthless paper assurances of the Nuclear, Fracking, Oil, GMO, Pesticide, Banking, and other "toxic" industries which only consider dollars to be wealth or profits.

Wealth, my friend(s) is to be found in community and healthy living diverse ecosystems, and not in psychopathic human egosystems. Shame on us, to allow the destruction of that which supports ALL life, including our own, to be destroyed so wantonly and for disposable buy products. What are we producing? Toxic and lifeless environments?

What are we giving back folks.....

Here is a lil something I wrote recently. http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/78-78/17673-march-qagainstq-monsanto-and-for-a-world-worth-living-in
 
 
+10 # mdhome 2013-05-31 14:41
Did you ever drive a car? did you ever drive over a bridge? Did you or your kids ever go to school? Jus'wonderin'.
 
 
+28 # goodsensecynic 2013-05-31 15:59
Actually, it's worse than that. Even avaricious, gluttonous, energy-wasting polluters and life-denying oppressors of poor and starving people the world over should understand that an awful lot of the wealth isn't even wealth. It's paper or, more accurately, pixel wealth that exists only in the virtual world of high commerce, currency trading, "futures" and "toxic assets."

When, for example, we learn that "the economy" (a mythical abstraction that rarely includes real resources, real work, real commodities and real wage packets) has "taken a hit" or some sector has lost 20% of its "value" overnight because of a bit of gossip or the sudden disclosure that the Middle East is unstable (who knew?), it's plain that the entire financial, commercial, investment sector is drinking something a whole lot more poisonous that Jim Jones' infamous Kool-Aid. It's more like tulip bulbs ... and we all know (or can find out) what happened when people started investing in them.

Oh yeah, and there's also that nasty little military-indust rial complex that allows the USA to spend as much on weapons and such than the rest-of-the-wor ld combined!

Cut the military budget in half and you could feed, clothe, house and educate the world!

But, whoa! That might harm "the economy."
 
 
-22 # perkinsej 2013-05-31 13:56
Sorry but I fear the real problem is that the upper middle class and a good portion of the middle, middle class already has too much money -- not too little. How do I know? Look at all the autos out in shopping mall parking lots and then check out all the toys and gadgets their children possess.
 
 
+9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-05-31 16:41
To: PERKINSEJ: you get the award:"Head Up your Arse."
 
 
-2 # Raynbow 2013-06-01 16:52
When people buy these things that you say, they have too much of, these consumers create demand for more production which in turn creates jobs. Wealth is created by industrious people making things that we all need or want. There is no limit to the amount of wealth that can be created when people get busy being productive. Government stifles productivity and wealth creation by taxing and regulating those who are trying to create wealth.
 
 
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-06-02 11:39
TO: #RAYNBOW You have some excellent points. Your last sentence is "Fairy Dust." "Government stifles productivity and wealth creation by taxing and regulating those who are trying to create wealth." When CEOs generate an income of 40-50 rimes that of the hard working employee, who gets the losing end of the stick? The fact that the 40-50 rimes ratio is there disproves your last sentence. Your next point, "and regulating those who are trying to create wealth." Who are these "Magic People" trying to create wealth for? Go back to the 40-50 times ratio. Sure as hell not for the workers. The Republicans want to participate in a rigged "game" where there are "no rules EXCEPT THOSE THEY MAKE UP JUST FOR THEMSEVES." How would you like to watch a football game where there "are no rules." One team has 15 players on the field-which is "OK" as that team makes the rules while the "other" team has only 11 player on the field. Who will win is obvious. Suppose there are no umpires or referees to decide if a pass was caught in bounds or out. Your comment, "There is no limit to the amount of wealth that can be created when people get busy and productive." Suppose you have political buffoons like Mitch McConnell who publicly state and to the senate, "our most important goal, make Obama a one term president." Who then shut down and block jobs programs like high speed rail, rebuilding decrepit bridges. You, your economic ideas from Disneyland?
You and "Fairy dust." Perfect marriage.
 
 
0 # soularddave 2013-06-05 11:20
So what about those cars and toys?? Of course they SHOULD be made in America.

You come off sounding jealous. Why is that?
 
 
-48 # Robt Eagle 2013-05-31 14:51
Reich is so incredibly dilusional and out of touch with reality as usual in this short statement. Also, as usual, no factual data to support his rant. OK, so what is wrong here? Everything, but let's be specific...the economy owes the masses nothing! The individual is responsible for all that occurs to them or not. Those who have made bad decisions must live with those decisions. It happened in OK. No one forced the residents to live there, and it was tragic. I live on Long Island, NY's south shore and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was horrific and still is, but we chose to live near the shore. Young folks who decide to have children when they can ill afford it, well they made the decision and the poor child is the loser in that deal. However, some children of very poor parents do make successes out of themselves...I did it, and many, many others have as well, in good times and bad. The individual is responsible, pure and simple. That is what is wrong with Reich's rant here, he blames the economy and does not ever see individual responsibility is the blame for all good or bad outcomes.
 
 
+27 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-05-31 16:32
To Robt Eagle:
Your second sentence.....(1 )"no factual data to support his rant." This is your version of "Fairy dust." Wages for the country have been flat for forty years. This is an economic fact. Your next point, (2) the economy owes the masses nothing." Doesn't the school system, vocational colleges, university system prepare our youth to be productive members of society? Are you saying the U.S.offers nothing to those who have sweat and prepared themselves for an honorable occupation is fruitless? You have many other points which follow which I would not waste my time discussing with a person such as you who may be the rugged individualistic kind. No one is arguing with you as to whether or not the individual is responsible for his or her own life. All Reich is saying is that when executives "earn" more than 40-50 times the normal hard working man or woman, and the ratio, some decades ago, was in the lower double digits, the tax laws, Citizens United decision, corporate tax loop holes, union busting, the U.S. is not the land of opportunity it was some decades ago. What Reich did leave out in his missive:A country which spends as much on military hardware and "boots on the ground," as the next 13, its citizens are the ones who pay the price on a deteriorating bright future. There is no sane way to argue with the principle: any country, extreme expenditures in military, the result is inverse for the citizens. More military expenditures, more suffering for the people.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-06-01 11:24
A country which spends as much on military hardware and "boots on the ground," as the next 13 "(quote Eldon J. Bloedorn"
Actually, it's the next 26; but your point is well made.
Some of these wearying, so-o-o predictable "Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps", self-aggrandizi ng reactionaries types (Ronald Reagan once said -"I got rich so anybody can" -by finking for the power elite and McCarthy on his Hollywood colleagues-) will never get that in the current US milieu, in which the corporate state is trying to deprive us of our very boots and flatten any attempts at enterprise and creativity to enhance the profits of the greed-mongers.
As Billie Holliday once sang "God bless the child whose got his own" -"and it still is news"!
Let them keep their heads in the sands of conformity and rigidly march to the goose-step of the status-quo, which is the safe way to stay level, maybe safe and utterly ununspired.
 
 
-1 # RightForAReason 2013-06-03 19:53
Flat wages started about the time the size and expense of government started exploding. About the time when taxes bleed more and more out of the economy. When higher taxes were driving more and more manufacturing out of the country.
Those same school systems you cite owe every dime of their income from those same "greedy" corporations you despise. Private industry funds EVERYTHING government does. Government has no money of its own. Whatever it has, it takes from the private sector. And don't try to tell me government "workers" pay taxes too, they just give back some of the tax money they took in the first place. The stockholders who own the company are the only folks with the right to determine corporate executive pay. If the CEO increases the value of their investment, they are worth their paychecks. If they don't perform, they get shown the door. Oh, and the primary purpose of government is to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, hence a military. The primary purpose is not to foster more government jobs, protect more ridiculous union contracts or provide universal health care and welfare to illegal aliens.
 
 
0 # Barkingcarpet 2013-06-04 09:22
Corporate led policy is psychopathic. All the resources and raw materials which we rip and shred out of the earth, belong to ALL life, and not to "shareholders," except by being given as "ownership" by governmental forms, which should be regulating the reduction of all and everything by "shareholders" who care generally only of dollar profits, and not of long term health or sustainability.

There is NO profit in policy and regulations which only consider monetary profits.

Real wealth, security, and profit, are to be found in diverse living interconnected environments, and the regulation and policy which preserve, protect, and ensure them.

Shareholder psychopathy and the policy and regulation beholden to them, has brought us Fukushima, Fracking, Endless Wars, Legitimate Rapist Bankers, Keystone/Tarsan ds, GMO's, and all manner of toxic, destructive and "profit" driven nonsense which has mad our planet near uninhabitable, with only worthless "trust us" paper assurances, and "oops, sorry, just the way it goes weaselwords, as we have turned much of the wealth and Book Of Nature, into lifeless barren and toxicly uninhabitable wastelands. This kind of "reasoning" on our FINITE planet, is rapidly going to crash into oblivion, unless we change our hubristic and criminal to a healthy future worth living in behavior, attitudes, and policy.
Nature does NOT belong to us, but we can certainly screw it up so it will not support human life very well. Enjoy your money, it mostly left lifeless landfills in its wake.
 
 
0 # soularddave 2013-06-05 11:28
Perfefect! You're wrong on each and every point. How do you do that?
 
 
+14 # tclose 2013-05-31 17:02
The usual story line from Robt. Ayn Rand would be proud.

You should ask yourself who is delusional, Robt.
 
 
+23 # tclose 2013-05-31 17:20
Dr. Reich as usual hits the nail on the head.

Back in the 20s, we had the same situation as now - the wealthy earning big bucks and keeping most of it after taxes. The depression years of the 30s resulted in a real concern amongst the wealthy that socialism would take over the nation due to the obvious breakdown of the economic system, that favored the wealthy over the 99% - so enough of the wealthy became convinced that reducing the disparity between the wealthy and lower earners would be a good and necessary thing.

As a result the upper income marginal tax rate went from 25% in the early 30s, to 79% by the end of the decade under FDR. Maybe it's time for the wealthy to understand the same thing is happening today - and become afraid of the political force of millions of mid and lower income voters insisting on change.
 
 
+12 # Billsy 2013-05-31 20:08
Where, might I ask is your factual data? What advanced degrees do you possess in the very social sciences that would grant authority to describe Dr. Reich's basis in reality or not? And why do you yourself 'rant' about individual responsibility and then fail to mention the responsibility a corporate entity and a state must have to nurture the environment in which they exist? Please take your puerile philosophy elsewhere. RSN readers are full up on Randian b.s.
 
 
+7 # engelbach 2013-06-01 11:49
If you lived alone in a jungle you'd be correct.

This is human society, deliberately and voluntarily organized for the common good.

That common good has been mercilessly attacked by a greedy few at the expense of all the rest.

You can opt out and go live on an island if you like.

The rest of us intend to take back what rightfully belongs to us all.
 
 
+2 # BLBreck 2013-06-02 16:15
From "Memories of Hope in the Age of Disposability" by Henry A. Giroux.

"Welcome to the new era of disposability in which market-driven values peddle policies that promote massive amounts of human suffering and death for millions of human beings. Programs to help the elderly, middle aged and young people overcome poverty, get decent jobs, obtain access to health insurance and decent health care and exercise their dignity and rights as American citizens are denounced in the name of austerity measures that only apply to those who are not rich and powerful.(8) At the same time, the new disposability discourse expunges any sense of responsibility from both the body politic and the ever-expanding armies of well-paid, anti-public intellectuals and politicians who fill the air waves with poisonous lies, stupidity and ignorance, all in the name of so-called "common sense" and a pathological notion of freedom stripped of any concern for the lives and misfortunes of others."
 
 
+25 # Johnny 2013-05-31 14:55
Well put! Huge bank accounts and stock portfolios for a tiny minority while the people's water, air, and food become toxic, the people's mountains, forests, deserts, and rivers become "private property," the people's air becomes toxic, rain turns to mud--that is not wealth. It is the most pathetic poverty.
 
 
+19 # seeuingoa 2013-05-31 15:03
I definitely don´t like money
in politics, but that can´t be
changed over night.

Isn´t there a billionaire democrat
who can support Elizabeth Warren in 2016 ?
 
 
+13 # mh1224jst 2013-05-31 16:45
It's 2 economies, really: an excess-profits- and-offshore-we alth-economy, and a declining-jobs- declining-wealt h-vanishing-opp ortunities-econ omy. Can't go on much longer...
 
 
+9 # brux 2013-05-31 16:57
First, I agree with just about everything Robert Reich writes or says ... but he should be clear what he is talking about.

The Republicans and business people also ought to be clear ... they do not care about anything but finding the lowest price for their labor - that is what they think they are supposed to be about.

Even if this level of sharing or investment or compensation may prevent development of the world and any political progress, in fact rewind American society 40 or 50 years ... they say Capitalism as American corporations define it is more important than people. This is the trust of their philosophical framework - and American corporations ought to be clear.

The choice is to have a civilization, a society that is far, or not to and for the people and the environment to reap that cost while for a short time an opulent few rides all of us high on the hog.
 
 
+3 # DaveEwoldt 2013-05-31 16:59
You know, I generally consider Robert Reich to be a pretty smart guy. So why is he so bad at connecting the dots?

Pointing out that Americans are living beyond their means doesn't have anything to do with hating government. Empire is damn expensive. Paying for it requires economic growth, because you can't tax people at a rate high enough to pay for it without fomenting open revolt. So, banks loan governments the money for wars of acquisition, and governments grant monopolies to corporations in conquered lands in order to pay the interest on the loans. And of course, the interest on household debt factors in to how much money is created. Since it's interest to bankers and not taxes to governments, people don't complain as loudly, and the illusion that everything is going just fine can be maintained.

The fact that the economy is twice as large as it was a few decades ago merely shows that the economy has all the substance of fairy dust. It couldn't be any other way, because we live on a finite planet and the resources needed to maintain the economy at its current size, let alone trying to fulfill the fantasy that we can keep it growing, are rapidly dwindling.
 
 
-10 # moafu@yahoo.com 2013-05-31 17:16
What nonsense.
So with the economy twice as large, does that mean we will earn so much money to pay off the National Debt in half the time ?
 
 
+10 # mdhome 2013-05-31 19:03
Hell yeah, IF we were paid twice as much, we could pay the higher taxes and be out of debt quite shortly. But the 1% are looking to pay undocumented wages to everybody, soooo the income taxes paid are quite small.
 
 
+5 # engelbach 2013-06-01 11:56
That's unimportant.

Before worrying about paying off the debt we have to revive the economy.

That means taking back the wealth of society that has been stolen by the manipulations of the rich and their lackeys in the government.
 
 
-6 # Raynbow 2013-06-01 16:41
The economy can not be revived while government is expanding. Wealth is created when private individuals and industry creates things that we need or want. Government spending and taxation, discourages productivity and thus, wealth creation by taking money from the private sector. This causes the economy to shrink and poverty to expand. Even Obama can't change the laws of economics.
 
 
+3 # Barkingcarpet 2013-06-01 23:40
That is not creating wealth, it is raping, pillaging, and destroying the "principal" of nature, and leaving lifeless and toxic environments for tens of thousands of years, where true wealth once existed, living diverse interconnected environments.

Real wealth is to be found in sustainable systems. we do not own Nature, and our ignorance of living systems is making this planet uninhabitable for much future life. Nature will recover eventually, and our ignorance will just remove us from the system. Money is a lousy trade for a planet worth living on for anythings future.
 
 
-8 # MidwestTom 2013-05-31 17:26
Reich never acknowledges that the rest of the world exists, and makes many things that we buy for costs that we cannot begin to match. Three decades ago a gallon of point sold for less than $10, compared to $40 or more today; one could get s Big Mac and a shake for about $1.50 compared to $7.50 today. The only reason that Americans can afford stuff today is because most things a NOT made here, which is an employment problem. People with Robert;s income and assets probably do not see a decrease in living standards, but the average American sure has. Only those with assets are keeping up.
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-05-31 17:47
Quoting MidwestTom:
Reich never acknowledges that the rest of the world exists, and makes many things that we buy for costs that we cannot begin to match. Three decades ago a gallon of point sold for less than $10, compared to $40 or more today; one could get s Big Mac and a shake for about $1.50 compared to $7.50 today. The only reason that Americans can afford stuff today is because most things a NOT made here, which is an employment problem. People with Robert;s income and assets probably do not see a decrease in living standards, but the average American sure has. Only those with assets are keeping up.

What's a "gallon of point"?
-And do ypu really want a Big Mac?
 
 
-1 # dbriz 2013-06-03 15:05
Quoting reiverpacific:
Quoting MidwestTom:
Reich never acknowledges that the rest of the world exists, and makes many things that we buy for costs that we cannot begin to match. Three decades ago a gallon of point sold for less than $10, compared to $40 or more today; one could get s Big Mac and a shake for about $1.50 compared to $7.50 today. The only reason that Americans can afford stuff today is because most things a NOT made here, which is an employment problem. People with Robert;s income and assets probably do not see a decrease in living standards, but the average American sure has. Only those with assets are keeping up.[/



[quote name="reiverpacific"][quote name="MidwestTom"]Reich never acknowledges that the rest of the world exists, and makes many things that we buy for costs that we cannot begin to match. Three decades ago a gallon of point sold for less than $10, compared to $40 or more today; one could get s Big Mac and a shake for about $1.50 compared to $7.50 today. The only reason that Americans can afford stuff today is because most things a NOT made here, which is an employment problem. People with Robert;s income and assets probably do not see a decrease in living standards, but the average American sure has. Only those with assets are keeping up.

What's a "gallon of point"?
-And do ypu really want a Big Mac?


What's a "ypu"?

Clean up your own typos before you criticize others, nitpicker.
 
 
-8 # robcarter.vn 2013-05-31 18:08
Heb says "The economy is twice as large as it was three decades ago, and yet the typical American is earning about the same" I say that is a win as the population living off it has grown 50% in that period, and now 47% don't work so welfare entitlements cost has grown that extra also.

People be real and look at facts first before chirping Government is failing. Money was made round to go round, you can't feed double without earning double that is a fact.
 
 
+8 # engelbach 2013-06-01 12:00
Only a tiny fraction of that 47% are on welfare.

Social Security and veterans' benefits are not welfare.

Nor are unemployment benefits.

And you're dead wrong that 47% "don't work." A huge slice of that 47% are the working poor, whose income doesn't meet the minimum to owe federal income tax.
 
 
-1 # Malcolm 2013-06-01 10:35
Good article. However, there's no evidence of "crumbling infrastructure- at least not in Oregon. Examples of INCREDIBLY WASTEFUL spending of my tax dollars by ODOT (with the blessings of the Federal Highway boys (Highwaymen?) are so numerous I could write a book about only the ones ive witnessed along I 5.
 
 
+1 # Cassandra2012 2013-06-03 16:28
What there is plenty of in e.g. Eugene, Oregon is a plethora of neo-fascist police beating peaceful female protestors over the head and spraying their eyes with mace while spewing misogynist self-serving BS. [See the recent POV film on this and the resultant emergence of the ELF (on PBS last night!) Apparently they do not teach the 1st amendment in Eugene public schools (though the neo-Gestapo apparently are willing to be flunkeys to corporations like Symantec!} Shameless!
"Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power." ~Benito Musssolini
 
 
+2 # randrjwr 2013-06-01 10:36
For a great many Americans, just continuing to live is living beyond their means. Read "Nickeled and Dimed" for more on this.
 
 
-6 # Raynbow 2013-06-01 13:36
And who was president 30 years ago? Oh, yeah it was Ronald Reagan. I only had to work 3 days a week to pay the bills during the Reagan years. Everything was more affordable. Since the democrats took the Senate in 2006 and now throughout the Obama years, my buying power is constantly eroding. Prices go up as earnings go down. As government spending goes up, the private sector economy, the source of wealth, shrinks! Not even Obama can change the law of economics! We need to change direction and eliminate entire departments of the federal government, starting with the IRS and EPA.
 
 
+5 # Barkingcarpet 2013-06-01 14:38
Sure thing Raynbow, just like the day that Regan took office, the solar industry died, and the sick and mentally ill were set out on the streets to fend. How about a functional EPA, FDA, and any other 3 letter you can come up with, which is beholden to The People, and the commons of Nature, and not the insane, destructive, toxic, and unsurvivabaly deadly corporatocracy beholden to the rich which we have now?

Republicrats and Demolicans serve themselves, not their children, not future life, not "the people" and not anything worthwhile.
 
 
-5 # Raynbow 2013-06-01 16:28
Can't figure out what you are saying in the babbling, run on sentence that you are barking at the carpet. Sounds like you are still out on the street fending for yourself under Obama's "deadly corporatocracy beholden to the rich which we have now".
 
 
+2 # Barkingcarpet 2013-06-01 23:33
Perhaps appearance are more important to you than substance? Some of us drink our Teas and cross our eyes, and some of do it otherwise. Time will tell just what n who is babbling beside the brook, hangin out and enjoying the beauty day, or creating something worthwhile, livable, or worth living in for the future. Fear and greed have about done in this world, and we will see, eh? We are ALL either taking, giving, or ignoring the offending, defending, and fending we all do in this crazy whirled. What are we leaving behind besides toxic landfills and disposable buy products which nobody needs, as we lay waste to all, for what?
 
 
+3 # BLBreck 2013-06-02 16:40
Another quote from "Memories of Hope in an Age of Disposability" by Henry A, Giroux, in response to Robt Eagle:

"As Zygmunt Bauman points out, too many young people and adults

are now pushed and pulled to seek and find individual solutions to socially created problems and implement those solutions individually using individual skills and resources. This ideology proclaims the futility (indeed, counterproducti vity) of solidarity: of joining forces and subordinating individual actions to a "common cause." It derides the principle of communal responsibility for the well-being of its members, decrying it as a recipe for a debilitating "nanny state" and warning against care for the other leading to an abhorrent and detestable "dependency."

"What does it mean when a country denies basic social provisions to the young, poor, elderly and those suffering from tragedies and hardships that are not of their own making and which cannot be addressed through the call to individual responsibility?"

And so, if we as a nation turn our backs of this principle of communal responsibility for the well-being all its members, then we are no longer a society.

Here is the link if anyone would like to read the entire essay.

http://archive.truthout.org/memories-hope-age-disposability63631
 

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