Posts Tagged ‘income disparity’

Why Your Life Sucks – The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy (via NYT)

February 6, 2013

This was a great article, well worth the read, that explains one of the many facets of how the threats to your personal economic security have arisen from past practices. Here is one part of how job insecurity has been creeping up on us since 1947:

The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy

Politicians across the political spectrum herald “job creation,” but frightfully few of them talk about what kinds of jobs are being created. Yet this clearly matters: According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.

A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other… Read More

via New York Times: The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy.

I know that, in my career field, there is a lot of “contracting” – employment where the “employers” are just middle men, pimps who sell the labor of others to their clients (the companies that used to employ people) and reap tremendous profits for doing, well, nothing really, beyond payroll (which they farm out to ADP anyway), and the actual “we’re sorry, but you are no longer employed” conversation.

You are just a commodity.

(Ironically, when I spell checked this post prior to publishing it, the proofreading suggested I use the word “use” in place of “employ”. Ya think?)


According To The 1%, The 1% Are NOT The Job Creators

May 20, 2012

The best, most well explained, explicit demolition of the Job Creator myth that I have ever read.

From the National Journal:

As Hanauer puts it, he and his rich friends, for all their lavish parties and jet-away vacations, don’t buy enough shirts, cars, and restaurant meals to match the spending that would occur if, say, their wealth was divided up among thousands of poor families. Studies on what economists call “marginal propensity to consume” bear out this idea.

Hence Hanauer’s claim that middle-class consumers, not innovators, create jobs. Amazon didn’t create a new group of book buyers; it just peddled a more convenient way to buy books. Its success created lots of jobs in Seattle, Amazon’s hometown, but it also killed lots of jobs in strip malls across the country. Increasing the number of book buyers would boost sales and jobs in the industry, with no downside.


The middle class incubates entrepreneurs because it offers a good combination of time, resources, and motivation to invest in skills and climb the innovation ladder. Put it this way: The comforts that flowed from the Pacific Coast Feather Co., his then-modest family business, provided Nick Hanauer with a house full of books and days full of time to explore big ideas. Think of those comforts as an investment. The eventual return was Hanauer’s venture-capital portfolio. Poor families just scraping by at the margins can’t make those investments, so their children struggle to achieve in school and pursue higher education. Children from rich families may, thanks to their extreme childhood comforts, lack the desire to build wealth and climb the economic ladder, which the Kauffman study found to be a key motivation for would-be entrepreneurs.

The economy sags when kids who could have grown up to be physicists end up spending their lives brewing lattes at Starbucks. Or when a young woman born to be a teacher finds herself babysitting, for peanuts, while she waits for a classroom to open up.

Read the whole article here.

Why Are They Willing To Pay $26 Billion?

February 9, 2012

This just in from CNN:

In the largest deal ever to address the housing crisis, federal and state officials on Thursday announced a $26 billion foreclosure settlement with five of the largest home lenders.

The deal settles potential state charges alleging improper foreclosures based on “robosigning,” seizures made without proper paperwork.

Most of the relief will go to those who owe far more than their homes are worth, which is known as being underwater on the loans. That relief will come over the course of the next three years, with the banks having incentives to provide most of the relief in the next 12 months.

So why are the banks willing to pay $26 Billion?


Just Like The Rest Of Us Redux

January 16, 2012

Thanks to CNN, we have a pretty good picture of how just like the rest of us the candidates are.

Candidate                Net Worth
Low Estimate  High Estimate 
Mitt Romney   $85 million $264 million 
Jon Huntsman   $16 million  $72 million
Newt Gingrich    $7 million  $31 million
Barack Obama    $2.8 million  $11.8 million
Ron Paul    $2.4 million   $5.4 million
Rick Santorum    $1 million   $3 million
Rick Perry    $1 million   $2.5 million
The Rest of Us
  51%-99%  $120,000   $1.2 million
  0%-50%  -$40,000  $120,000

I guess these guys really DO understand the rest of us.

(Some references here and here.  BTW the low end of the 0% of being $40k underwater is just a blind guess, and I have no facts to back it up.  But there are plenty of people, especially those affected by the Great Recession, who owe more than they are worth.  You pick a number, anything less than $0.  Any way you slice it, it is still bad.)

12 Days of Funny – Day Twelve

December 27, 2011

The old adage…

It is true - the cost of giving the extremely wealthy just a bit more luxury is the loss of programs that do much to prevent disease, poverty and death for those that will never know luxury...

...and here are the numbers.

Thanks for reading as I presented some of the best political cartoons I have seen recently.

(Thanks again to American Progress for the funny daily cartoons, like this one! You can see their archive and sign up for the daily funny in your inbox here.)

12 Days of Funny – Day Eight

December 23, 2011

Just begging for it…

Feeling the pinch of the new economy.

For the next 4 days I’ll be continuing to present some of the best political cartoons I have seen recently.

(Thanks again to American Progress for the funny daily cartoons, like this one! You can see their archive and sign up for the daily funny in your inbox here.)

12 Days of Funny – Day Four

December 19, 2011

Happy New Year, here let me poor you a drink…

Perfect metaphor. Except in real life, the glasses at the top expand to absorb whatever is put into them, no limits.

For the next 8 days I’ll be continuing to present some of the best political cartoons I have seen recently.

(Thanks again to American Progress for the funny daily cartoons, like this one! You can see their archive and sign up for the daily funny in your inbox here.)

Pro-Democracy Protests in Egypt Provoke Violent Police Crackdown

November 21, 2011

Oh, wait, maybe that was the wrong headline. Let’s try that again… (more…)

The Tea Party is Wrong (but not about everything)

August 30, 2011

The Tea Party is right – you ARE Taxed Enough Already.

The Tea Party is right – the government does need to balance its budget.

Waste is in the eye of the beholder

The Tea Party is wrong – the entire federal budget isn’t waste. Ask a dozen Tea Baggers and you’ll get a dozen different answers that all start “Get rid of everything… except (insert the program thet benefits them directly)”.

The Tea Party is wrong – we shouldn’t balance the budget by cutting more jobs in a bad economy.

The Tea Party is wrong – taxing the rich won’t bring our economy down. In fact, it will bring our economy back.

The Tea Party is wrong – the rich are not the most productive members of society.

The Tea Party is wrong – the rich don’t give us jobs like saints doling out dispensations. Jobs are created by economic demand. If there is money to be made, business will do whatever it takes to make that money, including hiring workers. If there is no money to be made, that is, if there is no demand for a good or service, no amount of extra cash on hand is going to incite a business to spend it on hiring a worker to produce a good or service that nobody can afford.  (And you can take that to the bank… because that is where big corporations are sitting on piles and piles of cash, waiting for demand to return, right this second!)

The Tea Party is wrong – they are supporting the very forces that are making their lives difficult and making them angry.

Tinkle Down Economics on Steroids

August 22, 2011

They have been pushing the idea for decades – give rich people more money and they’ll give a little more to the rest of us. They’ll give us jobs, the economy will get better, the wealth will trickle down on the rest of us.

“Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” – Fletcher (“The Outlaw Josey Wales” – 1976)

I see no evidence that it works that way. In fact, I see lots of evidence it works the opposite way.

In the real world, when we need more money, we work harder. We get a second job, or bust our asses going to school in the evenings to qualify for something that pays better. Our spouses get a job, and the chores that used to be done by the stay-at-home spouse get divvied up.

Give a person more money beyond a certain point, and they’ll start to slack off, they’ll start to do less because they don’t have to work as hard to get what they want and need.

The rich have been doing that to us for decades. Wages have not kept up with costs, and families have been leveraging themselves to keep up with their bills. Within reason, this strategy keeps us working hard for them – we have to fight to keep ahead, we have to work harder, get second jobs, do things like educate ourselves to become more productive. Take it too far and we end with economic collapse – two thirds of the economy (under normal circumstances) is driven by consumers, in other words, you and me.

And while wages have, at best, remained stagnant for the rest of us, income for the top half-percent have increased by a staggering 20 times, even after accounting for inflation. At the same time, their tax rates have dropped to one third the level in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The top income brackets have become less and less productive, contributing less and less to the economy as they suck up more and more of the economy’s resources. They are retiring younger, and their kids aren’t engaging in expanding the economy (beyond the occasional porn tape).

They aren’t hungry enough to get out here and use the resources at their disposal to bring the economy back to life. Instead, they are sitting on all that money and not hiring people, all the while whining that taxes are bleeding them dry, the poor things, and if we would just stop taxing them altogether, the “most productive members of society” would be able to afford to give you a job.

In the mid 1990’s, tax rates on the upper incomes edged back up just a little bit, and the economy roared to life. The government was able to not only pay its bills, but pay back money it had previously borrowed. Lenders, lacking the source of income that used to be provided by government borrowing, began lending to just about anyone with a business idea, and we had the biggest economic boom in a generation or more. (That boom is the only reason our salaries are even close to being as good as “stagnant”!)

It is time to tax the rich and balance, not just the federal budget, but the economy as a whole.

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