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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:32 PM
Original message
MIDDLE CLASS SPENDING: Not what you think!
Edited on Sun Apr-13-08 05:35 PM by Elspeth

GUESS WHAT WE'RE REALLY SPENDING MONEY ON?
GUESS WHY FAMILIES ARE USING WAY TOO MUCH CREDIT?

The mall? Plasma TV?

Nope. Consumer goods are actually DOWN in price since 1970 (in real dollars). What is driving us into endless debt?

Read on.

Or Watch this:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


"Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America's credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class."


Here are some of Warrens figures:






*ALL DOLLARS ARE ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION

*ALL INFO ON CONSUMER SPENDING COMES FROM THE US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

*BASED ON FAMILIES WITH ONE DAD, ONE MOM, and TWO KIDS OF AVERAGE INCOME



A. Family Income

1970
Family Income: only one income 32K year

2004
Income, 73K year, rise entirely due to mothers in the workforce. Fully employed males make $800 less per year than their dads did in real dollars in 1970.



B. Family Savings

1970
Savings: roughly 11% of income

2004
No Savings at all. Actually negative savings in past 5 years, meaning that debt outweighs savings.




C. Family Purchases/Consumer Goods

1970
Consumer goods actually cost MORE in real dollars

2004
Clothing prices: DOWN 30% from 1970
Food (including eating out): DOWN 18% from 1970
Appliances: DOWN 52% from 1970
Also DOWN in price: baby food, cars , cigarettes, dry cleaning.
Slightly up: electronics (by $300/year), dog food, and alcohol




So why, with more income and a reduction in prices on most consumer goods, is the average American family in debt instead of saving more income?



D. Mortgage:

1970
Many entry level homes were NEW HOMES, just built.
Averaged 5.8 rooms
2004
MORTGAGE: UP 76% in real dollars. (This is due to the cost of housing. The mortgage rates are actually lower than in 1970)

Most entry level homes are NOT new homes. Most 1st time home buyers are living in homes that are 25 years old or more (The Mc Mansions are actually 3rd or 4th time home purchases and only represent the top 20% of income earners)

Average 6.1 rooms. That means 1st time buyers are getting an additional 2nd bathroom or 3rd bedroom but not both.




E. Health insurance:

1970
Employer sponsored

2004
Health insurance, employer sponsored: UP 74% from 1970



F. Car Expenses:

1970
1-Car family

2004
Car Expenses: 2-car family , Expenses UP 56%






G. Child Care:

1970: non existent expense

2004
Child Care: Up. (Warren says 100% for the sake of argument, but points out that the rate is infinite/non-existent mathematically)


H. Taxes:

1970
(only taxed on husband's income)

2004
Taxes, on joint income, UP 25%



I. TOTAL FIXED EXPENSES

1970
Fixed expenses (Mortgage, Car, Health Insurance, Taxes) came to about 1/2 the family income (1 working male)

2004
Fixed expenses, plus child care, come to 3/4 of the family income (2 working parents, more real income than in 1970, dad making $800 less per year in real dollars.)



Warrens points:


*The biggest expenses are the most inflexible and have gone up at very high rates in real dollars over 34 years.

*The smaller expenses, which are the most flexible, have actually gone down.

*The fixed expenses lead to the lack of cash flow for spending or saving; there are fewer total dollars left after fixed expenses. This leads to borrowing on credit, and, eventually bankruptcy.

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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Two recommends and no comments
I guess you all went to watch the video
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yup.. that's a favorite of mine too
Edited on Sun Apr-13-08 05:57 PM by SoCalDem
I post it every few months.. & people are amazed..

Young people don't understand HOW it was possible to live on so litlle "back then".. but it really was...and the money we spent "in town" STAYED in town and recirculated many times over..

Now, when we spend money, it all goes somewhere else.and into a rich person's pockets.. The only "local" money that sticks around is the paltry wages that get spent for goods made in China..

and we wonder why we are not living well
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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. In 1970, 32k would put someone in the upper middle
class. Median family income in 1970 was $8,730 http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-078.pdf

My mom was newly divorced (1969) and was raising seven kids alone. She got $400 a month child support and we qualified for free school lunches.

Not everyone lived an idyllic life in the 1970s. I remember it as a time of struggle.

I hear what women get now for child support (a co-worker gets $14k a year for two kids) and they say they still have a hard time. Of course now kids play in sports and that costs a fair chunk of change. We didn't go to summer camp or play little league or take part in girl or boy scouts. When in high school I could not join any club that had dues or other hidden costs. About the only 'luxury' we had off and on was cable TV and that was usually when my mom would get free installation during a Toy for Tots drive sponsored by the local cable company. Oh another 'luxury' we had when I was a kid was membership in the neighborhood swimming pool. For $200 for a whole summer all of us could go swimming every day, which I did from the age of eight or nine to 13, when I was sexually harassed by an older teenage boy.

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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #22
36. I think she means 32k in 2005 dollars.
I read one of those "Your Year" pamphlets (facts and tidbits from your year of birth); for 1969, the average family income (in 1969 dollars) was 8,200 dollars, while the average home price was (in 1969 dollars) 16,000 dollars. Do we have that same 2:1 ratio today?

Back then, workers had semi-reliable health care and pensions. Many jobs didn't require college degrees, and even still, that wasn't the huge expense that it is today if you wanted to go. Not only that, but a college degree actually did the worker who chose to get it some GOOD; as in advancement and better pay. Today, even an MBA is starting to become like a height requirement and a bachelor's degree is needed to even get your foot in the door.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. I'll be watching that one tonight.
And keeping these stats. Thx.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. Can someone send this to our candidates?
If Obama is for real, he should care about this.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. That's why an increase in food and gas is so bad.
Things are already tight, so when food and gas prices go up, there's no room in the budget for it.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's exactly right.
That means giving up health insurance
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. More from Warren on "income volatility"
In 1970, a family needed 52 paychecks (one income) to meet all its bills, including fixed expenses.
In 2004, a family needed 104 paychecks (two incomes) to meet these same bills.

Unemployment: In a two income family, there is theoretically twice as much of risk of unemployment occurring as in a one income family. While the two-income family will have some money coming in (about half), it still may not be able to meet its mortgage or fixed expenses. In a 1970's one-income family, there is another person (usually the wife) who can go out to work in her husband's place temporarily. She would not make what he does, but the fixed expenses are lower and they have a better chance of at least making the mortgage.

In other words, the two-income family carried inherently MORE risk than the one income family, considering the whopping fixed expenses of our times.

This is all BEFORE taking into account job volatility, the stability of workers' jobs. In 1970, the stability of jobs was far stronger, and there was far less likelihood of losing a job. In 2004, jobs are much more unstable and there is far more of a likelihood of losing a job (per person).

Hence, our current two-income families are actually LESS stable because of current market conditions.


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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. And on health
Far less likelihood of having health insurance in 2004 than in 1970
Double the likelihood of an income earner getting in a car accident or other serious health situation (since both people are working, there is twice the risk of income loss due to health.)

CHANGES in HEALTH CARE

More likely to be sent home from the hospital sooner. A healthy woman with a non-problematic delivery in 1971 stayed in the hospital 5 days; insurance paid for this and it was expected. A C-section gave the mother 10 days in the hospital.

Now it's 24 hours.

Hospitals have become more efficient by "sending home sick people." "Send'm home quicker and sicker"--said in the hospital trade. The family provides nursing care. The family gives the shots, cleans the tubes.

Except the family has both adults at work. Somebody gets sick, one of the wage earners has to take off work to do the jobs the hospital used to do in 1970.

Today, the illness of a family member has a direct income effect: in the 1970s, the mother was home. Now, if someone needs care, one of the wage earners has to take a loss in salary to take care of sick family.

Child gets badly sick, mom stays at the hospital or caretaking the child until she loses her job. Warren has LOTS of bankruptcy cases like this.

Family bearing more risk of income loss due to illness.

INSURANCE HAS CHANGED:

"Faux" insurance, like the Utah policy, where you think you have insurance until you get sick.

Utah insurance doesn't cover hospitalization or specialists, or prescription drugs or supplies.




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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. "Special risks for families with children" (Warren on Single parents)
Single mom and dad:

Competing against two-income households. One-income family still faces high expenses and gets lower income.
____________________________________________________

Income volatility by family type since 1970:


Single without children: 30% increase in volatility since 1970
Single with children: 40% increase volatility since 1970

Married: 70% increase volatility since 1970
Married with children 90% increase volatility since 1970


_____________________________________________________

Housing cost increase--1983-2003 (GOVT data)

For families w/out children: 50% increase since 1983
For familes w/children: 100% increase!

Inflation adjusted dollars.

Families with children are buying schools--places with decent public schools. Families without children don't have to worry about the local schools, so they have a wider range of houses to choose from. A 5 point increase in 3rd grade reading scores in two equal suburbs, translates into 10s of thousands of dollars of difference in housing prices.

In San Diego, parents would rather live near a toxic dump than near an underperforming school where they would send their children.

---------------




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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. What happened to the safety net??

What has happened to the safety net?

1. Personal Safety net dwindling: Lower savings, more debt, more people w/out health insurance than ever;

In the 1970's the largest group without health insurance was single, 23 year old males, no children. Now the largest group without health insurance is comprised of 35 year old married persons with two children.


2001 : 1.4 million people lost health insurance. $800, 000 of these earned more than 75K a year! The people who have lost their health insurance are increasingly among the middle class.

Defined benefit and defined contribution: Risk that you will outlive the money you have put in.

----

2. Public Safety net

*Unemployment benefits are not a proportion of income and are not nearly as high as they were 30 years ago.

*Public Education has eroded:

In 1970 it took 12 years to educate a child to get into the middle class, according to Gallop polling data from the time. This is what parents thought it took to get their child into the middle class. A high school diploma, a good work ethic, were enough according to parents.

2002: Twice as many people believed that the Moon landing was FAKED, filmed in a Burbank sound stage, than believed that you could make it into the middle class without a college diploma. In other words, it now takes 16 years of education to become middle class. The single ticket to the middle class is a college diploma.

If, to be middle class, you needed 12 years of education in 1970, it was taxpayer supported. Free to families.
If you need a college diploma: you have to pay for it yourself. Educational expenses to get into the middle class have shifted from the taxpayer to the family.

*Preschool

1970: almost nobody sent their kids to preschool. Early childhood books like Dr. Spock said there was no need for preschool.

2007: Now, the majority of early childhood types are saying that preschool is absolutely necessary. Families pay for these two years of preschool.

From 1970, we have gone from 12 years of (free) schooling to 18 years of schooling, 6 of which is paid for by the family. Family pays for 1/3 of education of their children.


Chicago started a public preschool program, but it had some tuition. The tuition was larger than that of the University of Illinois.

We shrink what is available to serve families with children.




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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. What's happened with BANKRUPTCY? (Families with children at special risk)
Bankruptcy filing rates, 2003:

Childless groups:

Married couples: 7.4/1000 filed for bankruptcy
Unmarried men: 6.3/1000 filed
Unmarried women: 7.2/1000 filed*



Groups with children:

Married couples with children: 15/1000
Female head of household (no husband/unmarried) w/children: 23/1000
Unmarried men w/children: (no data; not enough of them to be statistically valid)


(*Wonder if the higher rate for women has to do with lower salaries for women across the board. --me)

"Families with children are under enormous financial stress." --Warren

90% of families with children file for bankruptcy due to:

1. Job Loss
2. Family Medical Problem
3. Family death or divorce

Nearly 1/2 the families have two of the above
Nearly 20% have been hit by all 3

This is how they end up in bankruptcy.
"
"More children live in homes that will file for bankruptcy than live in homes that will file for divorce.
--Warren

Bankruptcy gets hidden. There is an enormous stigma. "Don't use the word bankruptcy"

85% were hiding it from parents, siblings and children.
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. K & R.
Of course, this isn't going to stop the "Blame The Victim First" Repukes, who assert we're not poor compared to people who live in mud huts and eat bugs. After all, we're STILL able to buy $50 DVD players! It's called the "Tchotchke Economy"; while the prices of appliances become more and more affordable, the cost of necessities skyrockets to the stratosphere, and nobody seems to care. :eyes:

I've always said that since the predatory early 80s, just about every problem we face today began in that time period and has just exacerbated 10 fold with each subsequent administration. 28 years of Republican and Moderate economic practice has done the American middle and working classes not a SINGLE bit of good.

You want the main American problem in a general sentence?

"What the Wealthy Want, the Wealthy Will GET, no matter WHAT the Cost to Everyone and Everything Else." And that's it in a nutshell.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. 40 years, not 28
I date this beginning of the slide to January 20, 1969, when Tricky Dick started the Republican screwing of America. Remember in "Sicko" where Michael Moore talks about the beginning of managed care and HMOs by Kaiser Permanente? That was Tricky that gave it the green light. Remember when the dollar was allowed to float (cut adrift is more like it)? That was Tricky too.

You may make the observation that Jimmy Carter was wedged in those 40 years and he wasn't a Repub. True, but in his 4 years, he had stumbling blocks put in place by the Republicans (like the second gas crisis) that cost him and he couldn't turn around 8 years of Nixon and Ford.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
10. I've watched about half of it and I still can't wrap my head around it.
I understand her statistics, but we have SO MANY things we spend money on now that we did not back then. TVs, Computers, all of that stuff... I find it so hard to believe that it's not discretionary spending that has gotten us into this mess. I mean, it's quite true that people have way way more STUFF than they did back in the day. I'd be interested in someone explaining it to me.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Housing and health insurance ALONE are enough to be a problem
Remember, women still make less than men and men make $800 less per year in real dollars than they did in 1970. The extreme rise in housing and health insurance is enough to eat up the gain of the woman's salary and then some.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Ok that's a good point.
How is this all going to work out..... It's the health care, indeed!
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. No kidding.
We are the third world now.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. How old are you?
Do you remember when calculators came out in 1973? A little HP calculator cost $200+. I waited until Christmastime when TI had one for $125 before I bought one. And how much was I making in 1973? Minimum wage job at the dorm for $2.25 an hour.

Or how about microwave ovens? The first one I saw was in 1975, and it cost like $500. Now the cheapest are under $50, and plenty of models are less than $100.

Those discretionary items were WAY expensive back then. On the other hand, I was able to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica for $300 a month (which was pretty extravagant of me because I could have saved quite a bit if I had gotten one in the San Fernando Valley).
And oh yes, I think my tuition (in state) at UCLA was like $150 per quarter and student health insurance was some pittance like $22. I see on their website now that the reg fee is around $7000. That has kind of outpaced inflation, don't you think?

She is right, consumer goods and discretionary spending haven't put people under, necessities have.


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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Wow! $200 for a calculator? I can get one for a few bucks
Or even free if there's some promotion at school.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Now that you mention it....
I wasn't buying much in 1975, LOL. I was eight. :hi: Good points, all. Thanks.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #19
30. My aunt about killed my uncle when he bought a new gadget.. (late 60's)
He spent $25.00 for it..


a BALL POINT PEN :rofl:
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #19
54. I was ten. But I got my first calculator in 1976. I think it was around $25-30
Edited on Mon Apr-14-08 06:44 PM by Lorien
Everything was more expensive the first year it was released, but dropped significantly in just a few years. Only the gadget crazed bought in the first six months of a new product's release (my dad was one of those). My mom -the SINGLE WAGE EARNER in our home (men weren't the only ones working)- got a microwave in 1977 for about $200, but it lasted more than 20 years. Can't say as much for the gadgets today.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #16
49. Hey, the "fancy ones" back then cost 325 - 350 dollars. I remember that clearly.
Back then, mid-70s, I remember that being the "big" Christmas gift my father-in-law gave each of his sons (including my husband). They all got these big-time, brand-new, state-of-the-art pocket calculators. Price tag about $350 each.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. not really
I don't know why you think that people have more stuff now than they did in 1970. I don't see any evidence of that.

The idea that people are all being irresponsible in their spending, and that this explains why they are hurting, seems destructive and reactionary to me - part of the "blame the people for their troubles" mantra that the right wingers keep spouting, and that too many Democrats buy into.

Saying that "discretionary spending that has gotten us into this mess" is blaming the people and promoting the right wing "personal responsibility" and "bad choices" explanation, an explanation that distracts us from the rapacious destruction of the working people.

People had TVs in 1970, by the way, and cameras, and stereos, and radios, boats, bikes etc. Most of that stuff was made here in the US, and a family could be supported on one income. You cannot blame the people for the profound and destructive changes we have seen.
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
27. Expenses are up
Edited on Sun Apr-13-08 08:52 PM by Juche
Healthcare is alot more expensive, and employers are covering less of it. Because of that out of pocket expenses keep going up. In 1970 healthcare made up 7.2% of GDP, it is now 16% of GDP.

http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm030807oth.cfm

As a result, people are spending far more on healthcare.

College too, I am watching her speech and I don't know if she mentions college but in the old days you didn't need college. Now people go and they graduate with 20k in debt, which requires monthly payments of $200 for 20 years to pay it back.

Real estate is higher due to competition to get into good schools and the real estate bubble in large cities. As a result mortgages are higher.

Taxes are also higher. The payroll tax and sales taxes have gone up alot since 1970.

Also fuel is higher due to a variety of reasons, especially now.




Consumer goods are around, but they are honestly not that expensive. A decent computer is about $500 and will last you for several years. Broadband is now about $20/month. DVD players and VCRs are $30 and last for years. Cable TV is $30/month, cell phones are $30/month. A microwave may cost $100 and last you for 6 years.

Its true we may be spending an average of (as a guess) $100/month in new technology things like cell phones, cable, internet, computers but that is still a very small aspect of hte price increase. That works out to about half of what people spend on student loans (average st. loan amount is around $200/month)
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #27
38. You're right about healthcare.
My mom had a $2 co-pay for prescriptions and doctor visits up until about 1990. We have a $60 co-pay for most prescriptions and a $30 co-pay for doctor visits. I'd say that's much higher than inflation.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
14. There is no place for the poor to go; the middle class is strapped
America has always had some poor, some rich and a big solid middle class.

Now: We will actually see a larger upper class-the sort of rich: who don't get sick, get divorced. And then the rest who are always in debt on the edge of a cliff. No security for these people.

Real threat to families with children but also the fabric of our country. Newly weakened middle class.

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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
23. her book "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke" is not to be missed!
http://www.amazon.com/Two-Income-Trap-Middle-Class-Pare...

Warren, a law professor at Harvard (The Fragile Middle Class) and her daughter Tyagi, a former McKinsey consultant, have joined forces here to argue here that the two-parent middle-class working family is on the brink of financial disaster. The number of families declaring bankruptcy or receiving a foreclosure against their house has shot up dramatically. Presenting carefully researched economic data to support their arguments, the authors contend that, contrary to popular myth, families aren't in trouble because they're squandering their second income on luxuries. On the contrary, both incomes are almost entirely committed to necessities, such as home and car payments, health insurance and children's education costs.

When an unforeseen event such as serious illness, job loss or divorce occurs, families have no discretionary income to fall back on. The authors recommend a number of useful societal solutions to get families out of this trap, such as legally prohibiting credit card companies from charging grossly unfair interest rates and exposing banks that employ a loan-to-own strategy that steers minority customers to higher mortgage rates with an eye to future foreclosures. Warren and Tyagi point out that families buy homes they cannot afford in order to live in a neighborhood with better schools. Their proposed solution, however-to institute a public school voucher system with wider choice-is less carefully thought out. Overall, however, this is a needed examination of an emerging social problem.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Schooling is a big issue. Warren makes it clear that
childless people buy homes. Families with children buy schools. And a 5 point increase on a 3rd grade reading test can increase housing prices dramatically (by the tens of thousands of dollars.)
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. it's amazing the difference in cost of similar houses in 2 different school districts.
ergo, it's in the best interest of everyone (kids or no kids) in a community to make sure their schools are excellent.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 02:34 AM
Response to Reply #26
33. But not in the interest of the Department of Education
The real goal is to dumb down everyone.
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
28. I figured out the solution
Never have kids. If you don't have kids you don't need to buy a house in a good school district, your healthcare spending goes down alot, you may only need 1 car, you don't need childcare.

This is great. I'm going to go around dressed in sackcloth teaching the gospel of celibacy. Sure we'll all die in a generation, but we won't struggle to pay the bills.

:sarcasm:
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. I didn't want my family to die off. Is that so terrible?
So I had one child.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #31
44. I think the poster was being sarcastic
The issue of children is huge here. Deciding to have a child doubles (or even triples) your chances of bankruptcy. There are costs spiraling out of control and no safety net.

Obama are you listening?
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #44
55. The main cost of having a child in my case
Was the fact that my ex husband got custody of our child and I had to pay HIM child support, when I did not have a steady job. He was the one with a good income, and he has worked for the same company since 1982 through 2008, with steadily increasing income.

He sued me for custody in order to punish me for having the child in the first place, because he thought the child was a liability, not an asset. What an asshole.

He's just a smarter version of the guys who kill their wife when she's pregnant because children cost money, and they don't want the child or the financial expenses.


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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. I am so sorry to hear about that
Some people are just evil.
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PaDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
29. I can't wait to see which right-wing think tank...........
is chosen to "debunk" Warren's ideas about middle class debt.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. Probably a wonk with a PhD from Pat Robertson's university
where Phd really does mean "piled higher and deeper."
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #29
35. Maybe "Popular Mechanics" can do it.
They seem to have a vested interest in debunking things, no matter how flimsy and self-righteous their theories are.

:rofl:
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #35
43. This is a Harvard professor who specializes in bankruptcy and contract law
If you think that Popular Mechanics knows more than she does about this issue, then there's not much of a way to sway you. All of her data on prices and costs is taken from The Department of Commerce figures. Her bankruptcy data is her own, taken from her own research.

If you insist on lobbing grenades before checking out information, go spend your time in GD-P, where that kind of behavior is encouraged.
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #43
45. Um, I don't know where you interpreted that reply as anything but sarcastic.
It's called a sense of humor. You should get one, they're nice.

Trust me, I'm VERY much on the side of Elizabeth Warren on this issue.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. Considering the general tenor of DU these days, it was very possible your post wasn't sarcasm
Now, in a kinder, gentler era of DU, perhaps I would assumed sarcasm, even if none were present. :)

Context is everything, chico.
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Johnny Harpo Donating Member (330 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-13-08 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
32. I Listened To A Video Of Warren
giving this presentation. Believe me, this lady knows her stuff.

Obama better have her on his short list for a cabinet post.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #32
41. Yes, Obama needs to know about her.
Someone ought to send him or his campaign a copy of the video.
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #41
51. Edwards & Clinton know her
So I'm sure Obama does too. Edwards talked about her book the two income trap, and Warren said she had a long discussion with Clinton about a bankrupty bill several years ago. So I'm guessing Obama has heard of her too.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
37. I haven't bookmarked a DU thread in five years
But I have this one. Thank you for this.
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #37
40. You need to thank Swag, who put up the video on DU (in the video forum)
That's where I saw it and watched it and was appalled. And as one DUer pointed out, it doesn't even cover the last two years of rising fuel and food prices.
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Dont_Bogart_the_Pretzel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
39. I want to see the stats for 2005 & 2006
I can tell you that the food prices are no longer down 18% from 1970... as with baby food and cigarettes

What about gas prices? What was it in 1970 $0.36 and 2005 $2.40
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2005-08...


C. Family Purchases/Consumer Goods

1970
Consumer goods actually cost MORE in real dollars

2004
Clothing prices: DOWN 30% from 1970
Food (including eating out): DOWN 18% from 1970
Appliances: DOWN 52% from 1970
Also DOWN in price: baby food, cars , cigarettes, dry cleaning.
Slightly up: electronics (by $300/year), dog food, and alcohol


So why, with more income and a reduction in prices on most consumer goods, is the average American family in debt instead of saving more income?


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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #39
42. Because of the big 5: Housing, up over 75%, Health Insurance, Child Care, Taxes, Car Expenses
(the 2-car family)

Housing and Health Insurance eat up a huge chunk.
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sicksicksick_N_tired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #42
52. Where's the cost of energy to light and heat our homes and run our cars?
It's a necessary evil and a HUGE expense.

What I observe as being the biggest pull on our quality of life is the expense of the following NEEDS (rather than wants): shelter/housing, healthcare (not just insurance) and drugs, and energy.

My other observation is the growing compensation divide. My Grandpa was a full-time school bus driver and my Gramma a full-time homemaker. They could afford a home and a car and all basic needs without much struggle albeit there were no excesses. Nowadays, bus-driving is a second or third job.
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PurgedVoter Donating Member (753 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
46. K&R NT
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Elspeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
48. Here's a story from today's NYTimes--it's getting worse

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/us/14drug.html?_r=1&p...


"Julie Bass, who lives near Orlando, Fla., has metastatic breast cancer, lives on Social Security disability payments, and because she is disabled, is covered by insurance through a Medicare H.M.O. Ms. Bass, 52, said she had no alternatives to her H.M.O. She said she could not afford a regular Medicare plan, which has co-payments of 20 percent for such things as emergency care, outpatient surgery and scans. That left her with a choice of two Medicare H.M.Os that operate in her region. But of the two H.M.Os, her doctors accept only Wellcare.

Now, she said, one drug her doctor may prescribe to control her cancer is Tykerb. But her insurer, Wellcare, classifies it as Tier 4, and she knows she cannot afford it.

Wellcare declined to say what Tykerb might cost, but its list price according to a standard source, Red Book, is $3,480 for 150 tablets, which may last a patient 21 days. Wellcare requires patients to pay a third of the cost of its Tier 4 drugs.

For everybody in my position with metastatic breast cancer, there are times when you are stable and can go off treatment, Ms. Bass said. But if we are progressing, we have to be on treatment, or we will die.


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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
50. Thank you Elspeth
these are the things that as an online community we should be working on. I see so many great writers/thinkers/activists here at DU getting sucked into the primary battles and forgetting what POLITICS is all about. Doesn't "polity" mean something like seeking balance within society, and isn't that the root of the word politics? We should be organizing and forming ideas on how to counter these downward spirals AS WELL AS voting our conscience for candidates.


ugh, complicated thoughts i'm having and my brain and fingers are slugisch..


K&R for reminding me what it's all about.

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
53. "Mothers in the workforce"
Edited on Mon Apr-14-08 06:35 PM by Lorien
I hate phrases like that. Not all women who entered the workforce are "mothers", and back in the 1970s many single parent homes were ONLY being supported by the mother. My mom made about 25k a year then, how does that compare to HER father's income, I wonder? Why doesn't the article mention that we women are still being paid less in salary than our male counterparts for the same positions?

I also have to question the statement on mortgages. I didn't know A SINGLE FAMILY in 1970 who had a newly built home. Every person I knew lived in a home that was built anywhere from 1880-1950. In the 1990s nearly every first time home owner I knew bought a custom built new home (we would have thought that extravagant in the extreme in the 1970s). This was in the midwest, but I find it hard to believe that it wasn't much the same nation wide.
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Champion Jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-17-08 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
57. KICKED
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