Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Losing Dignity: The Fall from Grace, Once Middle-Class

This article in the Atlantic is one of the best (and the most depressing and sad) stories I've read about a successful middle-class person's fall from grace after losing their job. This is a perfect example of what millions of Americans have been going through since the onset of the Great Recession.

After a veteran Washington DC reporter lost his job, he found employment in a sporting-goods store. In a personal essay, he recalls his struggle that challenges millions of Americans day after day.

And after you read his story, consider this:

Paul Ryan said, "The left is making a big mistake here. What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. People don't just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity -- of self-determination."

But a poll shows that by a 63 percent to 19 percent margin, most Americans said that giving free food to poor people does not undermine their dignity and that not all work automatically pays in dignity. Only 30 percent of Americans said they think people working in low-wage jobs that don't pay enough for basic expenses gain dignity from those jobs simply by virtue of working. Fifty-eight percent said they think a job needs to at least cover basic living expenses to give a person dignity.

No matter how much they make in profits every year, or how many millions they pay themselves in stock-option grants, or how big their annual bonuses are, whenever you ask these CEOs for a raise (or just to raise the minimum wage), they ALWAYS say they might have to raise their prices, cut workers hours or lay people off.

But you never hear a CEO say, "I might not be able to buy out our biggest competitor this year" or "I'll have to buy a 15-bedroom mansion on the lake instead of a 30-bedroom mansion on the ocean" or "I might have to wait to buy another private jet".

But whenever their employees need food stamps or Medicaid, they call them "takers", but at the same time, they think it's perfectly OK to accept corporate welfare. They think we should pay MORE in taxes (even though we don't have enough to live on as it is) and that they should pay LESS in taxes (even though they have more money than they know what to so with).

Now:Obama is seeking a broad expansion of overtime pay. The Koch bothers founded Cato Institute is already saying that rich CEOs might have to cut workers hours and lay employees off if they have to pay fair wages.

Besides the governor of Florida, here's another example of real Medicaid fraud: One of the nation’s largest dental chains with clinics in 20 states has been under federal scrutiny for years for performing unnecessary dental treatments on children, and could be barred from the Medicaid program beginning next month (How dare those takers for not allowing us to profit from unnecessary treatments!!!")

We support our troops --- NOT!!!! Besides Congress wanting to cut food stamps and pensions, now or Vets have other problems. Debt collectors are targeting members of the Armed Services by calling their superior officers, threatening reduction in rank and even courts-martial, despite stepped-up efforts to protect them from abuse.

Some of the greediest CEOs are running cruise lines and incorporating their operations offshore to avoid U.S. taxes and wage laws. The greediest might be Carnival Cruise chair Micky Arison. He’s now selling off 10 million of his Carnival shares, a sale that figures to bring in $395 million and still leave his family holding over $6 billion in Carnival stock. Arison’s share sale began as passengers left adrift last year on a faulty Carnival cruise ship were testifying on the lawsuit they’ve filed against the company. That incident subjected over 4,200 passengers and crew to five days of overflowing toilets and rotting food. Carnival is dismissing the suit as “an opportunistic attempt to benefit financially” from “alleged emotional distress.”

As an aside: A new study totally debunks Justice Anthony Kennedy in his Citizens United decision when he said, "independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption. In fact, there is only scant evidence that independent expenditures even ingratiate."

Now the stage is set to ignite a popular uprising nationwide movement to roll back some of the catastrophic consequences of Citizens United and (likely) McCutcheon.


  1. Hardest job I ever worked was pumping gas at minimum wage during a Midwest winter.

  2. We're a great country and it seems with all the innovations over the last 150 years we would be all set to live comfortably on planet earth. Medical breakthroughs have eliminated most diseases, and there is a lot to be thankful for that had we lived 200 years ago it wouldn't be so good. The problem now is we have people that aren't satisfied with making a few million… they have to make billions and billions. And people that make 500k/year love to say that you are punishing a person for working hard if you want to take a little bit more of it in tax. This is bull crap. These people that you think are working so hard are actually working hard at manipulating the government to help out the very people they employ and pay a low wage because they know the taxpayers will foot the bill to subsidize their food, rent, utilities, school lunches and whatever else the government spends on the "working poor". Think back to the 30's and 40's when there wasn't any government help for the working poor. They took it upon themselves to shut down companies and industries and in turn be compensated. Henry Ford made millions, but his workers lived a decent life raising a family, sending their children to college, taking vacations and the like. Today we've sent those manufacturing jobs overseas, sometimes even to countries that we were once at war with (Vietnam). Then we tell the American workers that the pay has to be low because they can make it in China or Vietnam for cents on the dollar. They want to pay Americans that have served their country in wars and conflict to make us safe and this is how they are paid back. The businesses in our country don't pay a living wage and we are now in the throes of a decaying country. Roads, bridges, schools, sewers, water lines and the list goes on and on. We've elected 535 people in Congress that are so screwed up that they couldn't find their a-s-s if they had both hands on it. They are beholden to the "Golden Calf" whom we know as lobbyists. All 15,000+ of them. Our country is decaying before our own eyes and we're doing nothing about it. Why do you think these ultra-wealthy people live in gated communities? It’s because they're scared of what they've done.

    1. If the people don't go out on the streets and protest, they will end up living on them instead.

  3. From the Economic Populist: According to a new study released from the Economic Policy Institute, if currency manipulation was stopped, the U.S. trade deficit would shrink by up to $500 billion in three years, annual GDP would increase up to $720 billion, the federal budget deficit would be reduced by $100 billion each year and create up to 5.8 million jobs in three years -- with 40% of the new jobs being in manufacturing. By manufacturing in China with a highly manipulated exchange rate, U.S. multinationals make out like bandits. Corporate lobbyists run the nation, so don't expect currency manipulation to actually be confronted by the Obama administration or legislation passed by Congress. It is truly outrageous since America is literally sliding down the economic slope and by allowing such manipulations to continue has destroyed the American middle class.