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Wed Oct 24, 2012, 01:40 PM

 

37 Facts About How Cruel This Economy Has Been To Millions Of Desperate American Families

Have you ever laid in bed awake at night with a knot in your stomach because you didn’t know how your family was possibly going to make it through the next month financially? Have you ever felt the desperation of not being able to provide the basic necessities for your family even though you tried as hard as you could? All over America tonight, there are millions of desperate families that are being ripped apart by this economy. There aren’t nearly enough jobs, and millions of Americans that actually do have jobs aren’t making enough to even provide the basics for their families. When you have tried everything that you can think of and nothing works, it can be absolutely soul crushing. Today, one of my regular readers explained that he was not going to be online for a while because his power had been turned off. He has been out of work for quite a while, and eventually the money runs out. Have you ever been there? If you have ever experienced that moment, you know that it stays with you for the rest of your life. If you are single that is bad enough, but when you have to look into the eyes of your children and explain to them why there won’t be any dinner tonight or why they have to move into a homeless shelter it can feel like someone has driven a stake into your heart. In this article you will find a lot of very shocking economic statistics. But please remember that behind each statistic are the tragic stories of millions of desperately hurting American families.


1. One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

2. A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

3. In the United States today, there are close to 10 million households that do not have a single bank account. That number has increased by about a million since 2009.

4. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

5. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.

6. Median household income has fallen for four years in a row. Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 over the past four years.

7. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

8. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is more difficult to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

9. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.
http://www.blacklistednews.com/37_Facts_About_How_Cruel_This_Economy_Has_Been_To_Millions_Of_Desperate_American_Families/22172/0/38/38/Y/M.html


Now I do have issue with this sentence...

"Over the past decade, things have steadily gotten worse for American families no matter what our politicians have tried."

What have they tried exactly? Cutting taxes and more military and Big Government Spending?

As Ben Stein Explains, Stunning Fox & Friends:

“I hate to say this on Fox – I hope I’ll be allowed to leave here alive –
but I don’t think there is any way we can cut spending enough to make a
meaningful difference,” said Stein. “We’re going to have to raise taxes
on very, very rich people. People with incomes of, say, $2, $3, $4
million a year and up. And then slowly, slowly, slowly move it down.
$250,000 a year, that’s not a rich person.”

Stein said that the government has a spending problem, but they also have a “too low taxes problem.”

“The evidence is that there is no clear connection between the level of
taxation and the level of economic activity,” said Stein. “The biggest
growth and prosperity we’ve ever had in this country was from roughly
1941 to 1973. That was the best years we’ve ever had and those were
years of much higher taxes than we have now.”

“Taxes were at 70, 80 percent then,” said Steve Doocy.

“And yet, we were very prosperous,” Stein replied. “The highest rate
was in the 90s during parts of the 50s, and yet we were very
prosperous.”


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Reply 37 Facts About How Cruel This Economy Has Been To Millions Of Desperate American Families (Original post)
RepublicansRZombies Oct 2012 OP
hollysmom Oct 2012 #1
RepublicansRZombies Oct 2012 #2
Proud Liberal Dem Oct 2012 #7
closeupready Oct 2012 #10
Proud Liberal Dem Oct 2012 #11
xchrom Oct 2012 #3
JNelson6563 Oct 2012 #4
Arkansas Granny Oct 2012 #9
Art_from_Ark Oct 2012 #43
GoCubsGo Oct 2012 #14
hollysmom Oct 2012 #27
OneGrassRoot Oct 2012 #5
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #6
RepublicansRZombies Oct 2012 #13
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #15
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #19
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #20
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #21
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #22
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #30
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #33
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #34
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #36
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #37
NoOneMan Oct 2012 #41
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #42
ieoeja Oct 2012 #8
Egalitarian Thug Oct 2012 #12
davidn3600 Oct 2012 #16
Egalitarian Thug Oct 2012 #17
Yavin4 Oct 2012 #18
coalition_unwilling Oct 2012 #38
woo me with science Oct 2012 #23
coalition_unwilling Oct 2012 #39
trouble.smith Oct 2012 #44
RepublicansRZombies Oct 2012 #24
gulliver Oct 2012 #25
woo me with science Oct 2012 #26
Kurovski Oct 2012 #28
ProudProgressiveNow Oct 2012 #29
SomethingFishy Oct 2012 #31
Egalitarian Thug Oct 2012 #32
RepublicansRZombies Oct 2012 #35
coalition_unwilling Oct 2012 #40

Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 01:52 PM

1. what, Some conservatives are understanding cause and effect??????

I really dislike Stein, but he nailed it here.

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:08 PM

2. how can this truth be so obvious, even to someone like him

 

yet most of the time all the politicians/pundits go on and on about cutting taxes to help the economy

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:35 PM

7. Moreover, WHAT have THEY done about it?

They're busy rattling off the Romney campaign talking points about how bad things have gotten for a lot of people (which they, of course, undeniably have) but they're either not proposing any realistic/workable solutions other than electing Mitt Romney for POTUS, repealing Obamacare (with no real proof that it is harming job creation) and/or promoting more and more tax cuts for so-called "job creators" (whom apparently are NOT busy enough creating jobs).

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:18 PM

10. It's like they suggest we all take up yoga.

And just meditate our financial problems away.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #10)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:31 PM

11. Or just indict them in the ICC!

That's going to solve all of our foreign policy problems!!!

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:16 PM

3. Du rec. Nt

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:28 PM

4. And yet so many have no clue what it's like.

I just don't get that.

A few years back I was chatting with a couple of Dem friends. I have no insurance (still don't) and barely make it paycheck to paycheck. They were stunned that I wasn't planning on getting all sorts of medical tests, being over 40, to establish a "baseline".

Hell, I don't even have a doctor.

They were stunned I didn't want to get the eye drops at an eye exam so I could find out if there was something wrong that would require drops that cost hundreds a month. lolz

Far too many people are still so very comfortable they cannot even imagine a day in the life of people like me. That is why serious change ain't a comin' anytime soon.

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:56 PM

9. Like many other situations, you can't really understand it until you've lived it.

For instance, I don't have a clue what it's like growing up in an inner city environment or living in a wealthy, gated community. However, ask me about raising kids as a single, working mother and I can tell you some things you probably never considered.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 03:15 AM

43. Mom, is that you?

I kid. Kind of You do often sound a lot like her, though

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:51 PM

14. No, they sure don't.

They don't understand why you don't replace your 16 year-old beater of a car. Or why you can't just go out and buy some new wicking t-shirts, rather than wearing the ones you got at the thrift shop for a buck. Or, why you don't have a computer that is capable of using Skype., Or, why you wait six months between hair cuts, and trim your own bangs, and wait until there's a $6.99 coupon at Great Clips. And, it goes on and on. And, the most irritating part of it is that THEY KNOW WHAT MY SITUATION IS. Mind-boggling.

I don't have a doctor, either. My insurance consists of "Pray you don't get sick/hurt."

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 11:46 PM

27. never been without insurance for long

Only when my job went bankrupt and my new job made me wait 6 months. But I do have many friends without insurance and it is not pretty, I am so afraid for them for the things they don't do., like having pains shooting up your leg and not seeing a doctor, could be a clot. or not seeing a dentist or getting all their teeth pulled out so they don't have to see a dentist.

I would like to help them, but I can't afford to support others and enjoy the little of the luxuries that I saved for for so many years. (i.e. going to an occasional concert or dinner with friends, paying the annual lease for my beach room)

I have lived in a "roach infested slum", but that was before the drug war exploded that problem and people were just poor, not dangerous, people used to walk outside on a summer evening instead of having air conditioning and everyone was safe, crime was low in our low income area and everyone was friendly. So that probably does not count. When I have been broke and without a car, I have always had friends and family to borrow from and later repaid them. Also probably does not count.

I hope you can qualify for getting subsidized insurance from the government.

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:29 PM

5. K&R n/t

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:33 PM

6. Cheap, plentiful energy is the real key.

 

People looking at either end of the taxation are politicizing our decline. In the end, its not politics and public policy, but science, that will explain our current trend. We cannot grow, much less maintain, unless we can *efficiently* unlock billions of years of stored sun energy at a growing pace. Unfortunately, the deeper we must dig is the tighter the bottleneck becomes. This is the new normal. The party is over.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:34 PM

13. "The party is over" Why? Corporations and Bankers are doing better than ever.

 

They need to give some of the money back.

I think we should have Eisenhower's taxation rate of 91% in order to pay off the war on terror.

When we pay the debt off, we will lower the taxation rate to a more reasonable level.

Why should everyone suffer while these greedy bastards hoard all the money?

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Reply #13)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:57 PM

15. Because there is finite energy

 

Less and less wealth, per capita, will be created for now on. Social policies just determine where that wealth is distributed at this point (and the elite have the edge there).

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 05:44 PM

19. oh, baloney. first, there never was a 'party' except for the rich. second, they're still partying.

 

third, more expensive energy doesn't mean 99% of the population has to be poor.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #19)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 05:59 PM

20. It means per capita wealth will decline

 

Wealth is essentially the ability to command energy; it follows that declining available energy per capita results in declining wealth. How that wealth is distributed is the question that taxation generally answers, but it cannot answer how much available energy there is--taxing the rich wont magically unlock 2 billion gigajoules of energy. That is really my original point to those who cite tax levels as the source of decline

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #21)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:43 PM

22. Its already happening

 

Why else would there be more drilling?

Not only is the world population ever increasing, some of the most populous nations are slingshotting their development with oil & coal (namely China and India). So we have more exponentially more people using far, far more energy every year. Do you think this unlocked energy in the US (which is a global commodity) will be enough to maintain infrastructure and grow the economy further, at greater than 2%, infinitely, irregardless of population and global demand?

Imagine a hole infinitely deep, filled with apples in a village. You don't have to even dig the hole. You just have to scoop the apples off the top and feed your family. Until you take out enough that you can no longer reach the cusp of the hole from the inside. Then you have to build a ladder and climb down. You can only bring out what you have room for in your pockets. Soon you make a bucket. You are old so you send your kids down. The ladder starts to break so you fix it; you start to make it taller, taller. One day this whole village will be fed by your grandchildren, who climb down that hole, filling up their ever-repaired buckets, and bringing it to the surface. And unbeknownst to everyone, there just might come a day when it takes more energy to get down that mile-deep hole, fill the bucket, and climb up, than all the energy that can be provided in a single bucket. And worse, that buckets going to get divided by every damn mouth you spawned while working on the hole. In fact, it doesn't matter if you send everyone in the village down constantly to get more an more apples...if they can't recoup their energy and the hole keeps getting deeper, the crisis gets worse

That is sort of our reality. Declining EROEI. What now?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #22)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 12:51 PM

30. at the moment, known supplies of oil are increasing. which means that 'wealth' by your definition

 

(not mine) are increasing.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #30)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 02:59 PM

33. As in my example, the apple hole is infinitely deep

 

As follows, the amount of energy it takes to harvest apple energy approaches infinity as the depth of the hole approaches infinity.

The basic concept is Energy Returned on Energy Invested (ERORI).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

Even if a resource is infinite (and oil is not), it doesn't make its availability to a society infinite at any given time.

100 years ago, you could put a straw in the ground and get oil out in certain areas. At that time, it took the energy found in 1 barrel of oil to produce 90 more barrels of energy.

Today we are burning bitumen sand (3:1) and drilling at the bottom of the ocean; the low hanging fruit has been picked. Our EROEI has dropped dramatically as far as oil production is concerned.

So the amount that is available to harvest (or being harvested) becomes irrelevant, as that is one part of a multi-faceted equation. Rather, we need to look at (vastly simplified):

(what is being harvested) - (energy it takes to harvest it) / (the average usage per capita * population level)

So what we know is that the average usage per human is skyrocketing, as is the population. Further, we know that the ERORI for oil production has dropped at least by a factor of 3 in the last 100 years (maybe 4). This leaves the amount of available energy per capita dwindling, explaining precisely why the industrial world is in a global economic decline (in both production and wealth).

This is a problem we cannot drill our way out of (because harvesting hydrocarbons will always take more energy the more your harvest), unless we magically innovate a method to convince the oil to rise to the surface of our lawns so Jeb can make a fortune and move to Beverly Hills.

Got it?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #33)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 07:13 PM

34. it may be deep or shallow; my point is that it's not happening at present.

 

supplies are growing. therefore, by your own definition, wealth is increasing. therefore, the 'party' isn't over & workers need to fight for more equitable distribution of the value of production.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #34)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 12:33 AM

36. I believe this illustrates exactly how bad our problem is

 

If we all continue to deny the existence of simple truths because they clash with our neo-classical 20th century worldview, it will be very difficult to mitigate the overall damage once we can no longer maintain the status quo.

Remember, you refer to "my" definition of wealth. As I stated:

Wealth is essentially the ability to command energy; it follows that declining available energy per capita results in declining wealth.

You keep referring to an article about more domestic crude production proving there is more energy (and hence wealth). But you continually refuse to examine how much energy it takes to explore, build infrastructure for, drill, pump and refine these new sources. I mentioned the available energy to the population (aka net energy). This amount is not equivilent to the aggregate sum of all oil coming out of the ground, because a growing percentage of that oil is pre-allocated for further energy harvesting and infrastructure maintanence. The population does not get dibs on it all for the purpose of economic growth (or there would be no energy for drilling).

Further, you also continue to refuse to acknowledge the emphasis on per capita distribution of energy. While oil production does continue to increase at a steady rate, population growth has kept pace completely, thereby negating any gains at all in oil production:



And to add to this point, more and more of that population wants their share of the energy. The recent booms in China and India are the perfect example of this.

To get back to the apple demonstration--the real wealth of such a village is apples. Eating them (processing the energy) gives one the ability to bring up more apples. But if the apple pit becomes too deep that the energy it takes to pull up a basket against gravity is more than what a human body can derive from the apples, there is no point in doing it. And just as US crude production may increase, you can have everyone pulling up basket after basket and still have no net gain in available energy per each village person at the end of the day.

Things are so bad (or good as you suggest) that we are burning oil rich sand, to produce crude--1/3rd of which must be used to keep burning more bitumen. And to boot, what use to be villages 30 years ago in China are now tech manufacturing hubs demanding the other 2/3rds of that energy go to them.

So you say crude production is increasing? I say that

1) crude production is requiring more and more energy, meaning less of this crude is available to the population.
2) there are more and more people who are in need of this crude
3) more of these people are using more of this crude more often than they use to (making it cost more, meaning more energy must be used to create the wealth to purchase energy)
4) maintaining an infrastructure required to grow the economy--built by the very cheap energy of yesterday--demands further crude and lowers the overall availability to the population for economic growth (this is one I haven't talked about much yet, but is a very interesting concept in its own right).

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #36)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 02:19 AM

37. all that typing to combat your own straw men.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #37)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 03:08 AM

41. A straw man is a misrepresentation of an opponent's position

 

I am not attacking your position, or a misrepresentation of it. You are attacking mine.

I am typing to try and explain this science to you. I think it is courteous to tell people the truth about energy production, EROEI and how it all relates to growth. This, along with global warming (which it is related to), will fast become the central issues of the 21st century.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #41)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 03:15 AM

42. "A straw man is a misrepresentation of an opponent's position" = yes.

 

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:38 PM

8. It really hit home for me a couple years ago when it dawned on me how many closed stores I walked...


... by on my way to work.

Which is why today's walk to work put me in a really good news. I walked by at least three stores that have opened up in the last month. And there were many, many more with contractors fixing them up for an upcoming new store.


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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:32 PM

12. It's the Main Street economy. This is why we are still not entirely sure that the President

 

will be reelected. From even before he took office, he has pursued policies guaranteed to result in 2010 as well as this election. By adopting a slightly less one-sided republican economic platform he both sabotaged recovery and legitimized the opposition.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #12)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:20 PM

16. The problem is the bailouts and stimulus saved corporations and banks, not Main Street.

But it didnt help the middle class much at all. The middle class saw their home values crash and their 401ks vanish.

The rich have actually benefited under Obama. Their wealth has grown about 15%. But the middle class saw their own net worth plummet 35%. The banks responsible for the crash are still in business. Their executives are still living in luxury. And now we got companies and entire sectors of our economy that are deemed "too big to fail." Does that not amount to a legalized or even a government-encouraged monopoly? Bank of America will not be allowed to fall no matter how bad they get or what laws they break. But your credit union down the street is out of luck. They have to close their doors when they are in trouble.

That's why the President is barely making re-election.

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Response to davidn3600 (Reply #16)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:52 PM

17. Exactly. And it's not like we didn't predict this four years ago.

 

It makes you wonder...

Thanks for the kick. Here's another.

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 05:03 PM

18. The American People Buy Into The Bullshit That America Is "Broke"

So, they don't vote for reasonable social safety net protections for themselves. Additionally, they may vote to remove even more forms of protection because that dumbass meme. Hell, even some people on DU believe that nonsense that America is broke. Yet, they don't stop to think about how it was that we conjured up $780 billion to bail out Wall Street in less than 2 weeks. They don't think about how we paid for the tax cuts and the wars.

By not asking these questions and thinking critically, they just accept a lowered standard of living for themselves.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #18)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 02:54 AM

38. In pictorial form:

 

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:30 PM

23. "The economy" is cruel..."no matter what our politicians have tried."

Great post. Kudos to you for bolding that sentence. What an perfect example of the absolute GARBAGE and PROPAGANDA we are fed, every single day.

"Economies" are not capable of cruelty, and they do not appear out of the sky like tornadoes, battled by helpless politicians.

The theft of America was accomplished through CHOSEN POLICIES. Policies reflect priorities. And the theft will continue until Americans get sick, angry, or desperate enough at being ROBBED to stand up and demand better. As we speak, both parties, backed by corporate power and money, are planning for more of the same....more austerity, cuts to Social Security, cuts to social programs, job- and wage-killing free trade agreements, increased privatization, while money is poured into drone wars, surveillance policies, and the police state. This country was looted. Our wealth was stolen and the system restructured to send virtually all new wealth to the top one percent. Ninety-three percent of the "recovery" has gone to the top one percent. Neither party has any serious plan to reverse what was done to us. In fact, the campaigns refuse to talk about most of their plans in these areas.

The economy is not cruel. What is being done to Americans is cruel, and it is SELECTED THROUGH POLICY against our will.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #23)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 02:55 AM

39. +1,000,000,000 x 1,000,000,000 - Well put and definitely

 

needed saying. Hope you will consider fashioning your reply into an OP.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #23)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 04:10 AM

44. "When I say I believe in a square deal I do not mean to give every man the best hand.

 

If the cards do not come to any man, or if they do come, and he has not got the power to play them, that is his affair. All I mean is that there shall be no crookedness in the dealing."
Theodore Roosevelt

In speaking on Labor Day at the annual fair of the New York State Agricultural Association, it is natural to keep especially in mind the two bodies who compose the majority of our people and upon whose welfare depends the welfare of the entire State. If circumstances are such that thrift, energy, industry, and forethought enable the farmer, the tiller of the soil, on the one hand, and the wage-worker on the other, to keep themselves, their wives, and their children in reasonable comfort, then the State is well off, and we can be assured that the other classes in the community will likewise prosper. On the other hand, if there is in the long run a lack of prosperity among the two classes named, then all other prosperity is sure to be more seeming than real.

It has been our profound good fortune as a nation that hitherto, disregarding exceptional periods of depression and the normal and inevitable fluctuations, there has been on the whole from the beginning of our government to the present day a progressive betterment alike in the condition of the tiller of the soil and in the condition of the man who, by his manual skill and labor, supports himself and his family, and endeavors to bring up his children so that they may be at least as well off as, and, if possible, better off than, he himself has been. There are, of course, exceptions, but as a whole the standard of living among the farmers of our country has risen from generation to generation, and the wealth represented on the farms has steadily increased, while the wages of labor have likewise risen, both as regards the actual money paid and as regards the purchasing power which that money represents.


Side by side with this increase in the prosperity of the wage-worker and the tiller of the soil has gone on a great increase in prosperity among the business men and among certain classes of professional men; and the prosperity of these men has been partly the cause and partly the consequence of the prosperity of farmer and wage-worker. It cannot be too often repeated that in this country, in the long run, we all of us tend to go up or go down together. If the average of well-being is high, it means that the average wage-worker, the average farmer, and the average business man are all alike well-off. If the average shrinks, there is not one of these classes which will not feel the shrinkage. Of course, there are always some men who are not affected by good times, just as there are some men who are not affected by bad times. But speaking broadly, it is true that if prosperity comes, all of us tend to share more or less therein, and that if adversity comes each of us, to a greater or less extent, feels the tension.

Unfortunately, in this world the innocent frequently find themselves obliged to pay some of the penalty for the misdeeds of the guilty; and so if hard times come, whether they be due to our own fault or to our misfortune, whether they be due to some burst of speculative frenzy that has caused a portion of the business world to lose its head -- a loss which no legislation can possibly supply -- or whether they be due to any lack of wisdom in a portion of the world of labor--in each case, the trouble once started is felt more or less in every walk of life.

It is all-essential to the continuance of our healthy national life that we should recognize this community of interest among our people. The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us, and therefore in public life that man is the best representative of each of us who seeks to do good to each by doing good to all; in other words, whose endeavor it is not to represent any special class and promote merely that class's selfish interests, but to represent all true and honest men of all sections and all classes and to work for their interests by working for our common country. We can keep our government on a sane and healthy basis, we can make and keep our social system what it should be, only on condition of judging each man, not as a member of a class, but on his worth as a man. It is an infamous thing in our American life, and fundamentally treacherous to our institutions, to apply to any man any test save that of his personal worth, or to draw between two sets of men any distinction save the distinction of conduct, the distinction that marks off those who do well and wisely from those who do ill and foolishly. There are good citizens and bad citizens in every class as in every locality, and the attitude of decent people toward great public and social questions should be determined, not by the accidental questions of employment or locality, but by those deep-set principles which represent the innermost souls of men.

The failure in public and in private life thus to treat each man on his own merits, the recognition of this government as being either for the poor as such or for the rich as such, would prove fatal to our Republic, as such failure and such recognition have always proved fatal in the past to other republics. A healthy republican government must rest upon individuals, not upon classes or sections. As soon as it becomes government by a class or by a section, it departs from the old American ideal.

Many qualities are needed by a people which would preserve the power of self- government in fact as well as in name. Among these qualities are forethought, shrewdness, self-restraint, the courage which refuses to abandon one's own rights, and the disinterested and kindly good sense which enables one to do justice to the rights of others. Lack of strength and lack of courage and unfit men for self-government on the one hand; and on the other, brutal arrogance, envy -- in short, any manifestation of the spirit of selfish disregard, whether of one's own duties or of the rights of others, are equally fatal.

In the history of mankind many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state; and in no way has this loss of power been so often and so clearly shown as in the tendency to turn the government into a government primarily for the benefit of one class instead of a government for the benefit of the people as a whole. Again and again in the republics of ancient Greece, in those of medieval Italy and medieval Flanders, this tendency was shown, and wherever the tendency became a habit it invariably and inevitably proved fatal to the state. In the final result, it mattered not one whit whether the movement was in favor of one class or of another.

The outcome was equally fatal, whether the country fell into the hands of a wealthy oligarchy which exploited the poor or whether it fell under the domination of a turbulent mob which plundered the rich. In both cases there resulted violent alternations between tyranny and disorder, and a final complete loss of liberty to all citizens -- destruction in the end overtaking the class which had for the moment been victorious as well as that which had momentarily been defeated. The death-knell of the Republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.

The reason why our future is assured lies in the fact that our people are genuinely skilled in and fitted for self-government and therefore will spurn the leadership of those who seek to excite this ferocious and foolish class antagonism. The average American knows not only that he himself intends to do what is right, but that his average fellow countryman has the same intention and the same power to make his intention effective. He knows, whether he be business man, professional man, farmer, mechanic, employer, or wage-worker, that the welfare of each of these men is bound up with the welfare of all the others; that each is neighbor to the other, is actuated by the same hopes and fears, has fundamentally the same ideals, and that all alike have much the same virtues and the same faults. Our average fellow citizen is a sane and healthy man who believes in decency and has a wholesome mind. He therefore feels an equal scorn alike for the man of wealth guilty of the mean and base spirit of arrogance toward those who are less well off, and for the man of small means who in his turn either feels, or seeks to excite in others the feeling of mean and base envy for those who are better off. The two feelings, envy and arrogance, are but opposite sides of the same shield, but different developments of the same spirit. The line of cleavage between good citizenship and bad citizenship separates the rich man who does well from the rich man who does ill, the poor man of good conduct from the poor man of bad conduct. This line of cleavage lies at right angles to any such arbitrary line of division as that separating one class from another, one locality from another, or men with a certain degree of property from those of a less degree of property.

The good citizen is the man who, whatever his wealth or his poverty, strives manfully to do his duty to himself, to his family, to his neighbor, to the States; who is incapable of the baseness which manifests itself either in arrogance or in envy, but who while demanding justice for himself is no less scrupulous to do justice to others. It is because the average American citizen, rich or poor, is of just this type that we have cause for our profound faith in the future of the Republic.

There is no worse enemy of the wage-worker than the man who condones mob violence in any shape or who preaches class hatred; and surely the slightest acquaintance with our industrial history should teach even the most short-sighted that the times of most suffering for our people as a whole, the times when business is stagnant, and capital suffers from shrinkage and gets no return from its investments, are exactly the times of hardship, and want, and grim disaster among the poor. If all the existing instrumentalities of wealth could be abolished, the first and severest suffering would come among those of us who are least well-off at present. The wage-worker is well off only when the rest of the country is well-off; and he can best contribute to this general well-being by showing sanity and a firm purpose to do justice to others.

In his turn, the capitalist who is really a conservative, the man who has forethought as well as patriotism, should heartily welcome every effort, legislative or otherwise, which has for its object to secure fair dealing by capital, corporate or individual, toward the public and toward the employee. Such laws as the franchise-tax law in this State, which the Court of Appeals recently unanimously decided constitutional -- such a law as that passed in Congress last year for the purpose of establishing a Department of Commerce and Labor, under which there should be a bureau to oversee and secure publicity from the great corporations which do an interstate business -- such a law as that passed at the same time for the regulation of the great highways of commerce so as to keep these roads clear on fair terms to all producers in getting their goods to market -- these laws are in the interest not merely of the people as a whole, but of the propertied classes. For in no way is the stability of property better assured than by making it patent to our people that property bears its proper share of the burdens of the State; that property is handled not only in the interest of the owner, but in the interest of the whole community. Among ourselves we differ in many qualities of body, head, and heart; we are unequally developed, mentally as well as physically. But each of us has the right to ask that he shall be protected from wrong-doing as he does his work and carries his burden through life. No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry.

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing; and this is a prize open to every man, for there can be no better worth doing than that done to keep in health and comfort and with reasonable advantages those immediately dependent upon the husband, the father, or the son. There is no room in our healthy American life for the mere idler, for the man or the woman whose object it is throughout life to shirk the duties which life ought to bring.

Life can mean nothing worth meaning, unless its prime aim is the doing of duty, the achievement of results worth achieving. A recent writer has finely said: ; "After all, the saddest thing that can happen to a man is to carry no burdens. To be bent under too great a load is bad; to be crushed by it is lamentable; but even in that there are possibilities that are glorious. But to carry no load at all -- there is nothing in that. No one seems to arrive at any goal really worth reaching in this world who does not come to it heavy laden."
Surely from our own experience each one of us knows that this is true. From the greatest to the smallest, happiness and usefulness are largely found in the same soul, and the joy of life is won in its deepest and truest sense only by those who have not shirked life's burdens. The men whom we most delight to honor in all this land are those who, in the iron years from '61 to '65, bore on their shoulders the burden of saving the Union. They did not choose the easy task. They did not shirk the difficult duty. Deliberately and of their own free will they strove for an ideal, upward and onward across the stony slopes of greatness. They did the hardest work that was then to be done; they bore the heaviest burden that any generation of Americans ever had to bear; and because they did this they have won such proud joy as it has fallen to the lot of no other men to win, and have written their names forevermore on the golden honor-roll of the nation. As it is with the soldier, so it is with the civilian. To win success in the business world, to become a first-class mechanic, a successful farmer, an able lawyer or doctor, means that the man has devoted his best energy and power through long years to the achievement of his ends. So it is in the life of the family, upon which in the last analysis the whole welfare of the nation rests. The man or woman who, as bread-winner and home-maker, or as wife and mother, has done all that he or she can do, patiently and uncomplainingly, is to be honored; and is to be envied by all those who have never had the good fortune to feel the need and duty of doing such work. The woman who has borne, and who has reared as they should be reared, a family of children, has in the most emphatic manner deserved well of the Republic. Her burden has been heavy, and she has been able to bear it worthily only by the possession of resolution, of good sense, of conscience, and of unselfishness. But if she has borne it well, then to her shall come the supreme blessing, for in the words of the oldest and greatest of books, "Her children shall rise up and call her blessed;" and among the benefactors of the land, her place must be with those who have done the best and the hardest work, whether as lawgivers or as soldiers, whether in public or private life.

This is not a soft and easy creed to preach. It is a creed willingly learned only by men and women who, together with the softer virtues, possess also the stronger; who can do, and dare, and die at need, but who while life lasts will never flinch from their allotted task. You farmers, and wage-workers, and business men of this great State, of this mighty and wonderful nation, are gathered together today, proud of your State and still prouder of your nation, because your forefathers and predecessors have lived up to just this creed. You have received from their hands a great inheritance, and you will leave an even greater inheritance to your children, and your children's children, provided only that you practice alike in your private and your public lives the strong virtues that have given us as a people greatness in the past. It is not enough to be well-meaning and kindly, but weak; neither is it enough to be strong, unless morality and decency go hand in hand with strength. We must possess the qualities which make us do our duty in our homes and among our neighbors, and in addition we must possess the qualities which are indispensable to the make-up of every great and masterful nation -- the qualities of courage and hardihood, of individual initiative and yet of power to combine for a common end, and above all, the resolute determination to permit no man and no set of men to sunder us one from the other by lines of caste or creed or section. We must act upon the motto of all for each and each for all. There must be ever present in our minds the fundamental truth that in a republic such as ours the only safety is to stand neither for nor against any man because he is rich or because he is poor, because he is engaged in one occupation or another, because he works with his brains or because he works with his hands. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.
Finally, we must keep ever in mind that a republic such as ours can exist only by virtue of the orderly liberty which comes through the equal domination of the law over all men alike, and through its administration in such resolute and fearless fashion as shall teach all that no man is above it and no man below it.

Theodore Roosevelt's
"A Square Deal" speech to farmers
at the New York State Agricultural Association
Syracuse, NY, September 7, 1903


The more things change.

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:13 PM

25. 537 Votes in Florida and 5-4 in the Supreme Court

That's all it took to create all this misery.

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 04:07 AM

28. The Cheney/Bush economic legacy. (nt)

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 04:18 AM

29. Good stuff. Thanks for posting. nt

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 01:05 PM

31. I'm in that "40%"..

My wife became ill and my savings dried up. After not receiving a raise for 7 years I went to my boss and explained my situation. I needed a raise, not for new cars or a house, but to be able to pay my bills and know if something happened I would have something to fall back on for a time until something else came up. I was told "sorry there is just no money to give you a raise".

This year my boss took 3 vacations in europe, bought a condo to go with his 2 houses, a new car and who knows what else. The client I handle bought a private jet, a new 4 million dollar house and didn't like the shape of the pond at his new house so he paid over a million to have it reshaped. But there was no money to give me even a cost of living raise after 7 years of service. Let me also say that in the year before I got this gig 6 other people had been sitting in my chair and every one of them got fired because they couldn't handle the gig. I came in and have lasted 7 years.

Then 2 weeks ago I found out that next week is it. Our client is taking off for 5 months, leaving me out of work, with no savings.

Luckily I am good at my job and can probably get another gig fairly quick. But there are no guarantees.

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #31)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 01:59 PM

32. Sorry to read this. It is far too common a story. n/t

 

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #31)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 07:30 PM

35. that sucks!!

 

If he paid his workers a bit more, put more money back into his business...perhaps he would pay less in taxes and help support the economy. Probably spends his vacation complaining about people on unemployment, taking from the government

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Response to RepublicansRZombies (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 02:59 AM

40. Emphatic K&R! - n/t

 

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