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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 01:39 PM
Original message
Ancient history? Jobs that used to support single income families
Edited on Thu Feb-07-08 02:31 PM by DaveTheWave
I saw an old friend at lunch today that I hadn't seen in a while and it reminded me of her father (now deceased) who worked for 27 years at a grocery store chain (can't remember which) as a bagger, never did anything else, and yet he bought a nice house, raised two daughters and had a pension with health benefits when he retired.
I also had a friend in high school whose dad worked in the bakery for Safeway and they were a single income family living in a nice home with benefits and a pension.

I'm not real familiar with the industry's salary structure but it seems like those two positions in these current times would not pay a person enough to do what those two people were able to do.

Any familiar stories?
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. I don't have similar stories, but my husband does...

and it just makes me so sad that those times are gone. Not everything was wonderful, but the economic situation that would allow one person to support a family - male or female - seems like a fairy tale. And don't forget, those people you mentioned worked normal hours, too -- none of these 70-80 hour weeks.

What the hell happened?
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. The prior generation in my family all worked at paper mills.
Some worked up to management, others didn't. But they all made enough to feed their families.

Redstone
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. As little as 15 years ago
The paper mills here in north Florida and south Georgia were the places to work, Great salaries, great benefits, etc. Everyone that I know my age got laid off ten years ago and several of the plants were bought out by foreign competitors then shut down soon after.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. And those are the paper mills that took the jobs away from the ones in New England.
Not casting any aspersions; just saying that the papermill work for the company my family worked for ended up all moving to St Mary's, GA.

I'm sure you can guess what company that was.

Redstone
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marzipanni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
65. I look for paper made in the US
after buying lined paper for my son for school that is so thin and delicate the edges get ragged, and holes for binder rings rip out too soon, and envelopes that feel flimsy and have too little glue on the flaps. Made in China.
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Burma Jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. Both Grandfathers were steel workers and the one that lived past 65
was able to get a divorce and buy a 500 acre place in Western Kentucky AND a house in Florida to live out the 20 years he had remaining. By the way, that Grandfather left school in the 8th grade - the other one made it to the 9th grade.

My Grandmother worked as a waitress at a Holiday Inn for 20 years. She got stock and a Pension that still pays her every month - she turns 101 in May. That's the sort of value we used to place on the work people did. Now, we have a complete winner take all mentality.

A guy that works with my brother in General Contracting is retired from driving a grocery truck, and he was able to raise and send to college four kids.

We pay a lot more for clever than for useful these days.......
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Awww...
Bless your Grandmother and give her a big hug from Dave "The Wave" on her birthday :hug:

I've known several elderly ladies in my lifetime that were probably just like her. They were very proud of what they did and they did it well. They never missed a day of work and their customer's glass or coffee cup never went empty.
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
5. What happened was Reagan
He apparently just hated the middle class. He must have - why else would he have made such war on them?
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Yes, Saint Ron (according to most Repubs and many Dems as well) did more to destroy the fabric
of American than pretty much ANY other President.

So how come nobody (except you and I) talks about that?

Redstone
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thom Hartmann talks about it all the time
Worth a listen, if you can get his show.
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1gobluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I talk about it all the time, especially as it pertains to the domestic auto industry
What Reagan did to this country is criminal. The trade imbalance is criminal; allowing Asian imports to flood our markets while theirs are closed to US imports.

Asian cars manufactured in the US are manufactured in right-to-work states with non-union labor, imported parts, and the companies actively work against any attempts to unionize. Their benefits are not good, especially when it comes to on the job injuries. I have a friend who works at the UAW HQ in Detroit; she travels to the south periodically for organizing meetings in those states and the management tries to run them out of town.

Michigan had a thriving working middle class of union autoworkers who bought houses and cars, cottages up north, and sent their kids to college. It's practically all gone now thanks to Reagan and his Michigan counterpart, the despicable John Engler.
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Pithlet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. It's awful. There was still a little bit of that when I was growing up there.
Though it was at the tail end. I grew up in Flint in the 70s and 80s, when the slide began in earnest, but there were still vestiges of how it used to be. It breaks my heart to go back now. Every school I went to is closed. My old neighborhood isn't the same. Damn Reagan and Engler.
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poisonivy Donating Member (82 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #13
39. I dont know where to start on your post
your post is so full of talking points and spin its hard to pin it down.

Ok, you mention Asian cars but you fail to mention BMW and Mercedes Benz's which are also made in the US. I will address your post concerning Honda Of America.

Honda has several plants in the US, Ohio, Indiana (soon to be opened, still in constuction), Alabama, and South Carolina. I will focus on the Ohio plants because those are the ones that I know more about. First of all Honda of America Manufacturing has grown to more than 12,500 associates and when you include the transmission, Honda R&D, and other associated plants that number grows to over 16.000. Those numbers only include Ohio, not Alabama, South Carolina, and Indiana. It also does not include the local suppliers used for the majority of parts used.

The PEOPLE dont want unions in the plants, the UAW has tried for years to unionize Honda in Marysville and for years they have been told by the WORKERS to get lost. Now, lets talk about your bad benefits claim. Hate to burst your bubble but your sadly mistaken there as well. Free uniforms, ZERO weekly cost full coverage health insurance including vision AND dental, profit sharing, 3 weeks PAID shutdown yearly plus vacation time. That does not include the other things that Honda does for the people that work there ie: yearly honda wide party where they bring in top name acts, plant parties, in house incentive programs, etc...

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1gobluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #39
41. European markets are not closed to US imports
Mercedes and BMW are European imports not Asian. That's the difference. European markets aren't closed.

Do you work in the Honda plant in Marysville? Are you sure it's the workers who resist unions -- do they do it voluntarily? Or is it out of fear of losing their jobs? Because the UAW tells a much different story. And regarding the on the job injuries and workers' comp, their classification of what is actually an on the job injury is incredibly complicated and they rarely approve the workers' comp.

My friend is out today; her mother is dying but I can provide many links and statistics when she returns.

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poisonivy Donating Member (82 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #41
57. My wife has
been there for 22 years and we have received the UAW propaganda at the house every time they have a push to unionize the place and I read that trash and throw it where it belongs, in the shredder. They misrepresent the numbers, spin the facts, etc... If I had some I would post examples but I dont at this time. Tell me, what benefits can a union give the people at Honda that they don't already have?? Don't say job protection because EVERYBODY that gets fired has the opportunity to challenge the firing in front of a jury of their peers. The management has their rep, you have yourself and you state your case as does management. Many times the individual gets their job back, how can a union improve on that? You have got to be kidding me about the on the job reporting issue. They document EVERYTHING that happens to you if you get hurt, hell you go see the nurse they fill out paperwork on that. They bend over backwards to accommodate people who have been hurt on the job or off the job with light duty, restrictions on what the individual can do etc...

Of course the UAW will tell a different story because they want in Honda, think of all that money coming in from union dues that they are missing out on. If the people that work there wanted the UAW in they would have voted it in years ago, thing is they DONT.
How can the union improve on their health insurance package that costs the associate ZERO out of their paycheck?
How can the union improve on the Profit sharing that everybody gets in November?
How can the union improve on the free uniforms?

Have you ever talked to somebody that works at Honda personally? I have, I live with one. Have you ever been inside one of the plants? I have and for a factory its pretty damn clean in there.

Tell me this. how many layoffs has union shops had in the past 30 years?
I can tell you how many layoffs Honda has had... ZERO!!! When production demands are low they move people around to other jobs in Honda so they DONT get laid off, they do everything they can to avoid that and so far they have.


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1gobluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. Be that as it may
Asian markets are still closed to US imports and factories. They flood our markets, while closing their own.

I need to do more research on this, sure. You may too. But I have seen what the trade imblance has done to my beautiful home state. Honda's profits go to Tokyo. The Detroit Three reinvest in Michigan and the US. Why are there layoffs? Because of the flood of imports into the US. Japan takes care of their workers, we hang ours out to dry.

Just out of curiosty, what's the starting hourly wage on the line at Honda?
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poisonivy Donating Member (82 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #58
62. The reason there were layoffs
is the fact that the big 3's sales were and are down, if you dont sell your product you dont need as many people to produce it. The question is why was sales down? Was it quality issues? Was it design issues? What was causing the sales to go so far down.

How can you say flood of imports? These cars and motorcycles are made right here in the US. The Accord, Civic, most Acura models,
Ridgeline, CR-V, Element, Pilot and Odyssey are all made in the states. Thats not an import thats locally made. Then you take the bikes like the GoldWIng and VT both made in Marysville.

Oh and Honda invests in the US, why do you think they have many plants now here in the states? They started with marysville and they now have several in the state of ohio alone, plus indiana, alabama, south carolina, not including the thousands of local suppliers they use.

I dont know what the starting wage is but I know after 3 years you top out at around 25 an hour. I know my wife made in the upper 5 figures last year when you include the overtime and profit sharing and for this area thats pretty damn good wages.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
26. Clarification: I was saying that many repubs and some Dems think of him as Saint Ron. I don't.
Lousy syntax on my part.

Redstone
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
37. I talk about it all the time.
It often starts a big fight in my family.
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. That seems very plausible
Timing-wise it does seem like the unions and the middle-class lost their power and their voice in Washington beginning with his administration.

Social security was even a comfortable way to retire before his time.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
11. I've heard employers lamenting how hard it is to get good, loyal employees
but the flip side is that most employers will throw their employees under the bus at the first sign of trouble.

Why should an employee be loyal? :shrug:
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Iris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
74. exactly.
I was talking to a girl right out of college who went on a job interview for a job that was more of a 2nd choice for her. They asked here what her "loyalty" would be like if a job she really wanted came her way.

I told her she should have said, "What will your loyalty to me be when I'm pregnant with my first (2nd, 3rd, 4th) child?"
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AllegroRondo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
12. My dad worked 20 years in the auto industry
mom never needed to work until he got laid off in the 80's.
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #12
38. Did he work at AMC by any chance?
My uncle was one of those who moved to Kokomo after GM took the plant.
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AllegroRondo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #38
50. Yes! at the Kenosha plant.
they shut down everything except for the engine plant in Kenosha.
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #50
63. I figured he did
since we had the Red's Roller Rink convo a year or so ago.

Two of my uncles worked for AMC, as did a few great uncles, cousins, etc. The rest of the family drove over the state line to work in Zion, Waukeegan and North Chicago at places like VR Wesson, Johnson Outboard, etc. They were also great union jobs that allowed a family to live on a single income. I don't believe any of the plants are there now.
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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
14. I worked 30 years as a painter, and I did fine...
Edited on Thu Feb-07-08 02:58 PM by adsosletter
but if you aren't in a union you had better own the company, 'cause all that work is being "insourced" at wages that don't even approach supporting a family...
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:01 PM
Response to Original message
15. only in the US
There was a show on here (in the UK) the other day about a family thinking of moving to New Zealand - comparing pros and cons with England. What amazed me most about it was that it was a family of four, with only one employed parent, and his job was doing painting and plaster work in construction. Granted, they weren't wealthy and didn't own a home, but just to be able to support a family with that work blew my mind. That's something I've been noticing since I've moved here - there isn't a sense of panic about being working class. One of my colleagues was saying that he'd heard about people in the US having two jobs - he just couldn't imagine someone being so poor that they'd need two jobs.

Another job: farmer. My grandparents were dairy farmers. The farm was, and still is, family run. I have two uncles who still farm every day, but they ought to retire. They are the absolute last of a dying breed, I'm afraid.
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. I've heard great things about New Zealand
I've heard from someone related to an expat there that for all their social programs like free health care and a great pension system that their taxes and cost of living expenses are among the lowest in the developed world.
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. it may well be
I have a friend who's from there and moved back recently, but I'm afraid he's not a good person to ask - his dad is a frozen foods mogul who supports him, and he's never worked a normal job in his life (he's a classical musician, and those jobs are weird everywhere). Still, he's invited me to visit some time, and I hope I get to, though I have no idea when I'd find the time or money for it.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #15
52. Yes, well, between council housing and the NHS, workers there are freed
from two of the biggest worries of the working class here in the States: shelter and health care.

Don't you also have per-child benefits? I know that some European countries do.
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #52
64. I don't really know to be honest
I've only live here for less than a year. I have some friends with kids, but since that seems a long way off for me, I haven't bothered to learn. I do know that they are starting to give in-home help to mothers for the first few weeks after child birth. That's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. What does surprise me is the number of people here I know who are about my age (let's say, people born in the 70's or 60's) who have families - never would they be able to support them in the US, and here it seems completely normal.
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Oeditpus Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
16. My dad never made more than $6 per hour
He was a boiler for Spreckels Sugar; retired in 1976. Started in the late '40s at, I believe, just over $1 per hour.

Mom worked for about 10 years in the '60s and '70s as a clerk at Goodwill for minimum wage.

Yet, they had a home built in 1950 (for $8,400), then mortgaged it in 1964 to buy another home as an investment, and paid off that from the rent it brought in.

(Actually, they bought two homes on adjacent lots. One was very old and in poor condition, so we tore it down and later sold the lot.)

We'll never again see that kind of opportunity for the "American dream."



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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. We'll never again see that kind of opportunity for the "American dream."
You seem certain of that. :(

Maybe we won't, but unless you've got a crystal ball, it's surely pointless to be depressed?
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azmouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
17. My father built caskets for almost 30 years.
My mom didn't start working until I was in school.
We didn't have a lot but we had a home and never went hungry.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
18. my husband has a job that supports us nicely but we have no debt
and very little monthly cost.

I keep house and am planning a large garden this year as my 'contribution'

and the way the prices at the supermarket shock me every week, it's probably the best use of my time. if only we could support a milk cow on an acre life would be good LOL

but 3-4 laying hens are in our future this year I think too
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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. can you stomach goat's milk?
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. he's the milk drinker not me and I doubt he'll go for it LOL
I may get a goat just for week control though...
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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. ...yeah...it's an acquired taste alright...
I have never acquired it...but some folks swear by it...

:D
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
22. Increasing the size of the work force tends to drive down the cost of labor.
It's part of the price we pay for equality of the sexes. One cool thing about it is that couples are more likely to weather lean times, with multiple incomes.
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. My wife has to work only to have and afford health insurance
Edited on Thu Feb-07-08 03:49 PM by DaveTheWave
It was $600 a month for both of us on my insurance, not including prescriptions and co-pays when she wasn't working four years ago.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. Why, thank you. I hadn't thought of that. And I bet many others didn't, as well.
Good post.

Redstone
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #22
48. I was just about to post something to this effect.
In the post WWII era, we have essentially doubled the workforce, which naturally drives down the cost of labor. Mind you, I believe that's a small price to pay in the name of equality, but I think it's extremely difficult to make a case that women entering the work force in ever-greater numbers had no effect on the price of labor.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #48
81. this is completely bogus, we have also doubled the population
you say -- we have essentially doubled the workforce, which naturally drives down the cost of labor.

this is so completely untrue on any level based on common sense that i'm flabbergasted that you're getting any response to this

think people -- we have doubled the american population since 1950 from about 150 million to 300 million -- any doubling in the work force is because we have guess what a population that is twice as large

not to mention the increase in technology, there are industries and jobs that didn't even exist in 1945

there is just no logic to your claim whatsoever that women entering the marketplace brought down the pay for jobs, women ALWAYS worked, they just had shitty jobs for shitty pay, but they still worked





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RadiationTherapy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #22
54. I know you are not criticizing it, but to complete this thought...
Women without their own incomes were able to kept under the thumb of anyone who supported her unless she found someone eles to support her.

Again, I see you are not critical of this change in our nation's history.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #54
56. Yeah. It's a trade-off...
...with many, many more factors involved than we've listed. Men's giving up of control over women enables competition from women for wages.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
27. Where I grew up
not one Mom in the neighborhood worked, and everybody owned their home.

We had a mailman, a schoolteacher, a mechanic, a cabinetmaker, a construction worker... all of them owned homes and raised families on their salaries.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
30. My dad was a mechanic for the New York Dept of Sanitation for 27 years.
Bought a home, supported my mom and 4 kids and put us all through college.

Impossible now.

we are on the down side.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
31. My Dad was an over the road trucker
LTL freight carriers mostly, die hard Teamster. It was 70 hours a week, but he was well paid and we had the best health coverage imaginable. Not many of those jobs left :(
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Hand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
33. Hell, my own family's an example.
My paternal grandfather was a Russian Jewish immigrant tailor. He supported a family and sent three sons to Hardvard dring he Depression.

My maternal grandfather was a Japanese immigrant who wasn't even allowed to become a US citizen until 40 years after he arrived. He started and ran a small carnation nursery to support his family of six children, five of whom were college graduates. Four of those went to UC Berkeley, which was tuition free at that time.

See that happening today? :grr:
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Brigid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. I think I may have an answer for that one.
Nearly 30 years of Reganomics and other Republican dirty tricks have undermined what was once the American middle class. :grr:
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BreweryYardRat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. Undermined, hell.
Try "disintegrated."
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Brigid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #36
70. Yeah, that works too.
No wonder Lou Dobbs has struck a nerve.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-07-08 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
35. Bethlehem Steel.
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
40. My grandfather was an assembly line worker.
And he, along with my grandmother, was able to have a nice house & raise a family on one income.

My father worked in the same factory as a tool maker - a much higher position - the as a purchasing manager. My mother also had a full time job. Only then were they able to have a nice house & raise a family.

As long as corporations are allowed to pit the American middle class against the third world poor in competition for jobs it will be more of the same & get worse.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
42. My stepfather worked for a shipping line out of Wilmington, California...
He was "white collar." When I graduated from high school in 1971, he was bringing home about $200 a week, but that was enough to buy a three-bedroom, two-bath house on a corner lot in the Long Beach/Lakewood area and two cars, and we always had clothes and enough to eat.
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
43. My dad and most of my uncles worked on the railroad.
The railroad work paid for bringing up practically my whole family.
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
44. read these articles and pass them along
http://www.beyondmainstream.com/politics/infocus_1.php

...
At the same time, the common working person's dreams of wealth become harder to achieve. Wages for most Americans didn't improve from 1979 to 1998 and the median male wage in 2000 was below the 1979 level despite productivity increases of 44.5 percent. Despite gains made in income during the 1990s, wages are now on a downward spiral. In May, The Financial Times reported that wages are falling faster than at any time in the last 14 years. Meanwhile hidden unemployment soars as U.S. economists declare a "jobless recovery."
....
A 2000 Time/CNN poll found that 39 percent of Americans believe they are in the wealthiest one percent or soon will be. They even supported Bush's abolition of the inheritance tax, which only applies to the richest two percent of American families.

Thinking like they're rich, Americans allow their representatives to lower taxes for the wealthy and increase their share of the nation's assets. After Bush's tax cuts, the 400 top taxpayers now pay at the same rate as those making $50,000 to $75,000 and many of the largest corporations pay no tax at all. Unlike the average wage earner, these people know their interests: 72 percent of the Forbes richest 400 who contributed to the 2004 campaign gave money to Bush.

When F. Scott Fitzgerald said the very rich "are different from you and me," he was right. The rich and corporations invest heavily to convince Americans to lower taxes, abolish regulations and give them free rein to amass more wealth and create a virtual aristocracy. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent struggle to pay their credit card bills and only dream of getting wealthy "someday."


Also interesting:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21309318/?GT1=10450

Shopping malls are packed every weekend. Restaurants can't open fast enough. Everyone seems to be wearing designer shoes, jackets and jeans and sipping $4 lattes. Credit card commercials constantly advocate splurging and, it seems, U.S. consumers are all too ready to comply.

So what's the problem? Why do so many middle class Americans with so much stuff say they feel so squeezed? If they are dogged by debt, isnt it their own fault?

Perhaps, some experts say, things are not as they appear.

Bankruptcy law expert and Harvard University Professor Elizabeth Warren spent a lot of time crunching consumer spending numbers for her popular books, "The Fragile Middle Class and The Two-Income Trap. In both, she makes this point: Despite all those $200 sneakers you hear about and the long lines at Starbucks, consumers are actually spending less of their income much less on discretionary items like clothing, entertainment and food than their parents did. In fact, after taking care of essentials like housing and health care, todays middle class has about half as much spending money as their parents did in the early 1970s, Warren says.

The basics, according to Warren, now take up close to three-fourths of every family's spending power (it was about 50 percent in 1973), leaving precious little left over at the end of the month and leaving many families with no cushion in case of a job loss or health crisis.
(more at link)


http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-naomi27jan27,...

Moody's, the credit-rating agency, claims the key to solving the United States' economic woes is slashing spending on Social Security. The National Assn. of Manufacturers says the fix is for the federal government to adopt the organization's wish-list of new tax cuts. For Investor's Business Daily, it is oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "perhaps the most important stimulus of all."

But of all the cynical scrambles to package pro-business cash grabs as "economic stimulus," the prize has to go to Lawrence B. Lindsey, formerly President Bush's assistant for economic policy and his advisor during the 2001 recession. Lindsey's plan is to solve a crisis set off by bad lending by extending lots more questionable credit. "One of the easiest things to do would be to allow manufacturers and retailers" -- notably Wal-Mart -- "to open their own financial institutions, through which they could borrow and lend money," he wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal.

Never mind that that an increasing number of Americans are defaulting on their credit card payments, raiding their 401(k) accounts and losing their homes. If Lindsey had his way, Wal-Mart, rather than lose sales, could just loan out money to keep its customers shopping, effectively turning the big-box chain into an old-style company store to which Americans can owe their souls.

If this kind of crisis opportunism feels familiar, it's because it is. Over the last four years, I have been researching a little-explored area of economic history: the way that crises have paved the way for the march of the right-wing economic revolution across the globe. A crisis hits, panic spreads and the ideologues fill the breach, rapidly reengineering societies in the interests of large corporate players. It's a maneuver I call "disaster capitalism."
...
(more at link)


The right wing is systematically setting us all up for a hard fall, and sadly seem to be getting away with it thanks to clever marketing and PR by Reagan, Rush, and others. They control the message (for now), and thus can get the very people they hurt to back them.
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azmouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. This should be its own thread.
Apologies if you have posted it elsewhere and I've missed it.
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #45
46. no, it's ok - I will repost them. thanks! nt
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Highway61 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
47. My dad was a dairy farmer
in Jersey. The only breadwinnner. Raised 4 kids..PAID for all our college education. We kids worked hard growing up however, we were not rich, just careful with money and lived within our means. Now there are hardly any farms left in the area. My father was a Kennedy democrat and I can remember going crazy when he voted for Ronnie!
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
49. Every prior generation
in my family - on both the maternal and paternal side - earned their livlihood from the land. They worked hard and did not live extravagently. And they did well financially.

Can't do that today. It is almost impossible to compete with the corporate farmers and ranchers. I know some folks that want to and are trying to do that very thing. I don't know how they get by. Most have high debt levels for their property and equipment. They are not insured or otherwise protected against risks (e.g., weather) they can't control. They work long hours and often they work 7 days a week. And they are poorly compensated. For example, I know a guy who produces organic eggs. He is paid two cents per egg - twenty-four cents per dozen - for eggs that sell in the store for about $4 per dozen. He easily works over 60 hours every week with rarely a day off. He has a wife and a couple of kids - none of whom have health insurance. And he probably ***grosses*** about $60,000 annually.

I was raised on a farm/ranch. We had dairy cattle, a small beef operation and we too produced eggs. I am very familiar with the work this fellow does. And I know that in the late 60's standard non-organic eggs were paid at a rate of one to one and a half cents per egg - 12 to 18 cents per dozen. Obviously, not much has trickled down to this fellow in the last 40 years other than increased production and consumer prices.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #49
67. Try getting your friend
to sell his eggs as a local producer in the co-op. I believe they get the entire amount of the price they charge, if not then it's the bulk of it. They are looking for more producers to sign on, too. We just joined and can't wait to start ordering!
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #67
68. To my knowledge
there are no local co-ops in the rural area where he lives.

Even if there were I doubt they could handle the volume of eggs he proudces - about 8,000 to 10,000 each day.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #68
71. Whoa!
Edited on Sat Feb-09-08 09:00 AM by hippywife
That's alot! Maybe he could sell some of them thru the co-op if he has one in the area. Then at least he could get a better gain on a good part of his eggs and then sell the rest as he does now. Might be worth it for him to check into.

Here's a website with links to co-ops around the country:
http://niany.com/food.coop.html
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #71
79. Like most poultry and egg producers
he is under contract with a company that handles distribution for him. That means he is prohibited from selling his eggs or chickens elsewhere.

It's the catch 22 of his industry. Either you go small with local distribution in what essentially is a hobby and perhaps a supplemental source of income. Or you try to make a livlihood of it and you go big which requires that you work in co-operation with a distributor.

The farm/ranch where I grew up produced nearly four times as may eggs. Combined with small dairy and beef operations it provided a middle class livlihood for three families.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
51. My great uncle was a school janitor
had a wife who didn't work outside the home, sent two children to college, owned a house in a modest but pleasant neighborhood.

When I was in grade school, most of my classmates had fathers who worked at one of the two manufacturing plants in town (Beloit, Wisconsin). They all lived in detached houses, and none of their mothers had outside jobs. One of our neighbors worked as a meter reader for the electric company, and he owned a house and had a non-employed wife.

In those days it was assumed that any full-time job paid a living wage.
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movie_girl99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
53. my mom was single from the time I was 2
until I was 10 and when she remarried. She worked in purchasing as a buyer for an aeronautics company. This was in the late 60's early 70's. We lived in a very nice apartment and I had nice clothes and never really wanted for anything. She only got $60.00 a month child support from my dad and we lived very comfortably. I cannot see that happening now.
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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
55. I made a similar point a few weeks ago
My dad in the late 60's didn't have a steady job. For a while he sold encyclopedias door-to-door, and he worked in a bookstore. My mom worked for a few months, again in a service industry.

They bought a house while doing this.

It was possible back then. According to some fast in-my-head math, they were between them likely bringing in about $5K a year, and had a comparable lifestyle to today's $50K a year, if not more. Maybe much more - how many people can buy a house making $50K these days? I'm 45, and that change has occurred in my lifetime.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
59. the oligarchy has worked tirelessly to destroy the middle class
that FDR created

the irony is they got the middle class "raygun democrats" to do it to themselves.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
60. Centurion
:shrug:
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grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-08-08 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
61. To be fair, life has a lot more bells and whistles these days.
I don't mean to sound like some granny shaking her cane at the young whipper-snappers, but when I was a kid in the 70s we just didn't have as much stuff. We had one television, one phone (with one phone line), and one car. We had no computers, no video games, no cell phones, no iPods. We rarely went out to dinner, we rarely got new clothes, and we got a few small gifts for Christmas and our birthdays. We shared bedrooms in a what today would be considered a "starter" house, and somehow all 10 of my siblings and I survived to adulthood. And we were considered middle class, not poor.

Today, my nieces (who's families would be considered very much middle class) have computers, phones, their own rooms, video games, iPods, etc. etc. Some of the things (a computer) are a necessity for school nowdays. But other things are definitely luxuries that we've simply grown accustomed to having and are so ubiquitous that they feel like staples. I'm just as guilty of this, I can't live without my iPod or internet connection any more.


..HOWEVER...


My father worked for an insurance company doing audit work. When he *retired* he was making half what I currently make (and I don't make much). Even adjusting for inflation, his salary would not raise a family today, much less a family of 13. My husband and I both work, have no children, and a small condo in Chicago. We can't afford a house unless we moved faaaaaaaaaaar away. If we had a child we'd have a very hard time making ends meet. We could do it, but only if I kept my job.

Definitely something has changed in this country. And not for the better.
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #61
66. One thing that I noticed too
Edited on Sat Feb-09-08 07:57 AM by DaveTheWave
This housing disaster thing. Our grandparents lived in the same houses that our parents grew up in 40 - 50 years. It seems these days people don't like to live in them past five years. Just like with their cars that they trade in every four years before even paying off them off. I always drive one for ten years if they will last that long. I gave one family member my last vehicle and it's still looks and runs good for being 12 years old.
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grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #66
73. Oh yeah. We've been in our condo for 8 years and we've seen most of the other
11 units change hands several times in that period. One of our cars is a 1999 Honda and the other a 2001 Subaru. We plan to keep both for several more years if possible. That's why we buy Hondas, they're not fancy but they run for ages.
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Crazy Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #73
77. It's smart living, good for the pocket book and the environment
I know a couple who could afford to buy out a whole showroom full of SUV's or other high end, name tag vehicles but every 10 years they each buy themselves a new Honda Accord.
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Brigid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #61
72. You have a point.
I live in a residential neighborhood consisting mostly of modest ranch-style homes of 1950s vintage. Most have, at the maximum, three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths, and a one-car garage. When I walk around, I can just imagine the era: People could raise families on a factory worker's salary, and had one TV set, one family car, a kitchen with a stove and a refrigerator, one phone line just like you said, and considered themselves well off. I also think that back then, when people were pondering a purchase, they asked themselves a very simple question that isn't asked as often today: "Can we afford this?" Maybe that's something from that era that is worth bringing back.
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grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #72
75. Credit cards and rampant consumerism are training us to believe we need
a lot more things than we actually do. I'm no exception. Well, to a degree. I've never understood the desire to move out to some far-flung generic suburb and give yourself a two-hour commute just so you can buy a giant 4000 sq ft home for a family of three. I'd rather live more modestly and have a better quality of life.
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greymattermom Donating Member (680 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
69. there are a lot of differences
My family is upper middle class. My dad was a psychiatrist and we lived in a very nice suburban house. But, we eating out was for adults, not kids, we went to Frish's. Family trips were in the car and we often stayed in one hotel room. Taxes were very high, and if my mother had worked, at least 70% of her income would have been taxed. On the other hand, they wrote off all their parties (entertaining potential patient referrers, i.e. their friends), and did a lot of entertaining at home. My mom still has the same furniture we had growing up. We didn't have our own cars as teenagers, and we usually worked summers. We rarely went to expensive sleepover camps, just the scouts. The houses they have built in the area since then are at least twice as big and filled with the latest style of everything. The kids expect their own cars and trips to Europe.
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
76. Meatpacking before the unions were busted.
It was a good enough living in north Omaha that more than one of my friends' parents were able to help them through law school on union wages.
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AwakeAtLast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
78. Dad was a teacher in 1970
My sister and I were both born in 1970 (no, not twins) and he was able to support all of us. Mom didn't start working until we had been in school for awhile, about 1980 or so.
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-09-08 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
80. This one:


My dad raised six kids on it.
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