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ProgrezivIndie Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:37 PM
Original message
IS ANYONE SUPRISED? (middle-class drifts toward poverty instead of affluence)
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 08:38 PM by ProgrezivIndie
07 March 2009
Middle class families looking to agencies for help
(ref: http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2009/... )

Carmelita Dorsey is trying to make ends meet. Lately, that has been a struggle. She packs her kids' lunches, limits her driving and has started unplugging appliances to save on her family's skyrocketing utility bill.

A year ago, she and her brother moved in to together to help shoulder the bills. Still, the 39-year-old Tempe school secretary is struggling. "Honestly, we live paycheck to paycheck," she said. "I feel embarrassed. A little bit ashamed. But I'm not out there spending money. I'm not getting my nails done. Everything's just so expensive."

Experts say problems like Dorsey's are becoming more common as middle-class families realize their paychecks are not sufficient to cover the rising cost of living. That, combined with increasing numbers of families being blind sided by job losses, is resulting in more formerly self-sufficient people needing financial support from agencies.

< ...snip... >


This article (and others like it) is why I decided to create this web page:
NEED HELP? Find food, jobs, medical care, etc.
( http://services-a2z.biz/karlsgoodies/help-4-needy.htm )

I've recently added a few more resources, I remain open to suggestions...
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. the whole point of the US government is to destroy the
middle class thing is it destroys the US government

its quite a catch22
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jedr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yep, the Neocons can never grasp that;
By destroying the middle class they don't create a cheap working class, they destroy the engine that powers the economy. So now they killed the goose that layed their golden eggs; what's next is anyone guess.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. I think they have an excellent grasp of that.
When Conservatives are the Government, their upfront message is that Government is the enemy. I don't know who else they could be referring to, if not themselves.
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 06:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. The neocons have nice boyish fantasies...
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 06:11 AM by CoffeeCat
...that are really bad when implemented in the adult world.

People view the neocons as these evil masterminds. They're not. They're overgrown
neophytes who lack any kind of insight, creativity and strategic-planning skills.

First, they wanted to be little masters of the universe and they thought they would
start by taking over Iraq and then moving on to the rest of the middle East. Oh, it
would be so grand. They would rule the world!

Problem is...they thought taking over the world would be like a game of "army man".

They're dysfunctional children, who never grew up.

Now, they want to put the middle class in chains--so they can play "You're the peasant
and I'm the rich magnate who will exploit you."

Problem is, without a working class--the rich magnate can't get rich. His empire falls
too.

Silly neocons. If they want to rule the world and play exploit-the-peasants--they really
need to come up with some viable plans that don't completely fail.

Growth-stunted idiots.
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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. Neocons/fascist pigs are scared of the middle class and...
want to destroy it. We speak out and we vote. It began with that goddamn Reagan!
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. Absolutely...the middle class threatens the hegemony of the overclass...
the poor are not a perceived threat, because they are completely irrelevant as far as the overclass is concerned
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. We're being robbed by the very people we're bailing out.
I don't know if this link works for everyone, but it's a podcast of a radio show I listened to this morning that describes in perfect detail just what is going on. A brilliant show. One hour. Must listen radio.

http://www.karmabanqueradio.com/podcast/tam070309.mp3
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Many of us here on DU knew the banks were crooks when they got bailed out last fall!
All the banks & Wall Street have done is cook the books-FOR YEARS.

This entire thing was done ON PURPOSE to steal & destroy every last dime the middle class has!

It's Enron on steroids. :grr:
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I'm watching Robert Reich's talk on this.
He's not claiming malfeasance. And in a way it does seem tinfoil hattish to believe it was an engineered scam. I'm far more cynical than Reich. But then I've only watched the first half hour of his talk.

I think you're right. Enron on steroids.

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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #10
19. But but but........THANK GOD IT PASSED!
:grr: x(
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #19
33. And where are those cheerleaders now?
:grr:
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. Exactly!
:applause:
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. multinational corporations outsourced the jobs for decades
starting with reagans piss off trickle down crap..I remember well when it started and mentioned to my husband that if the corporations kept it up there would be no one left on this side of the pond to buy their shit.
well, I was right. none of us buy their shit because none of us has any money.
they screwed themselves, in the long run for a little short term profit.
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Maccagirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. You are so spot-on
Reagan's trickle down economics (and Ayn Rand philosophy) are at the root of our problems today-and the corporate media made sure that Reagan blew sunshine up our ass for 8 years. You and I didn't buy it, of course, but it didn't matter.

:grouphug:
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. It's not short-term profit, though. It's very long-lived profit. They move the $$ to another locale
& do the same thing. Pay people to build & invent stuff that they'll own, pull back the money to depress wages, move on to the next self-financed "boom."

They wind up owning everything with labor owning nothing, unable to provide for their basic needs, & willing to work for peanuts.

It's centuries old, this scam. And some of the big boys have controlled the big capital for at least as long.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #5
25. Henry Ford knew that in order for his auto manufacturing business
to succeed, his workers would need to make enough money to buy the products they built.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. Carmelita has been "poor" for a long time..She's just now realizing it
When wages stopped keeping up with costs, we all started sliding down the hill.. credit cards made lots of people think they could still have what they wanted/needed and pay for it later..well "later" is HERE, and it's bigger & uglier than we expected.

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ProgrezivIndie Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #6
22. i think your analysis is "spot on"!

While it's true, there should have been much more personal responsibility... unscrupulous and grossly greedy LENDERS have finally pushed us over the edge (and most of them are now sitting fat & happy, while their employees and the public at large are hurtin' for certain!

Too many people were (still are?) living with a huge DEBT LOAD (mortgage, car payments, multiple credit cards, etc.) with no real chance to get out from under it, with "wages" lagging the ever increasing cost of living. So even though they may have been making it "payday to payday" (striving to "live the good life")... sooner or later the ceiling was going to collapse. Unfortunately, for too many, that is currently happening... and I suspect it will continue, for some time to come. IOW and IMO: we ain't seen the bottom yet. <...huge sigh...>
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
27. Exactly
good post.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
30. you're on to something here
The cheap goods from overseas and the credit flow have allowed (encouraged) Americans to think they were richer than they actually are -- and even made them believe they were entitled to be richer despite the fact that the economy was built on a house of cards.

I know a 42-year-old woman who is studying issues of classism and poverty. Her family lines came from poor Kansas farmers and from New Englanders who are blue bloods but with little property. This woman feels herself to be upper middle class because her Kansan grandfather built a comfortable estate. He put himself through college, got a government job, and climbed the ladder until he was near the top of his agency.

Unfortunately, his narcissistic only child spent the fortune -- probably the only fortune the family line has ever seen. The fortune was not invested in grandchildren's education or future.

And so this woman is back to the edge of the abyss, two generations later. After July she will be unemployed. She owes 90 grand in student loans. She is always housing insecure. Medical bills pile up, as well as taxes.

Despite the fact that she looks great and has the benefits of being educated and aware of the world through travel, is she any better off than the Kansas farmer great grandfather, and the New England blue blood grandfather (whose family owned a meat market in CT)?

At least they had food. At least they hadn't ever tasted a richer life, so they knew who and what they were.

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hay rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. concise and useful website.
I clicked on the angelfoodministries link (just to try it out) and found a site 2 miles from my house. If I was in that kind of need, the information would be very useful to me.

Suggest you include email contact on web page for people who want to suggest new links, etc.

Good job.

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ProgrezivIndie Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. "Suggest you include email contact on web page..."

I've always tried to keep my web pages simple (i.e. not use any mobile code, such as javascript, in order to maintain a "browser neutral" product... as there are others browsers being used, such as "text only" by people around the globe). I also don't like putting my email address, where spambots can harvest it... however, in this one instance and on this single page, I'm making an exception. That is to say... near the very bottom of this page, I've added a link so that people can email me their suggestions... and I used a little "script" to shield it from the spambots.

Thanks for the compliment, and the suggestion.
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KewlKat Donating Member (867 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. How about adding a link for commodity distribution program
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers several programs that distribute commodity foods, which are foods that the federal government has the legal authority to purchase and distribute in order to support farm prices. The first commodity distribution program began during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when it was known as the Needy Family Program. This was the main form of food assistance for low-income people in the United States until the Food Stamp Program was expanded in the early 1970s. The Needy Family Program distributed surplus agricultural commodities such as cheese, butter, and other items directly to low-income people. Today, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers the nation's commodity food distribution programs. The programs continue to improve the nutrition status of low-income people, while providing a means for using surplus agricultural commodities from U.S. farm programs.

The USDA purchases food and makes it available to state agencies and Indian tribal organizations, along with funds for administrative costs. The commodity foods provided to participants do not provide a complete diet, but are designed to supplement the nutritional needs of participants and may include canned fruit juice, canned fruits and vegetables, farina, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, nonfat dry milk, evaporated milk, egg mix, dry beans, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry or tuna, dehydrated potatoes, pasta, rice, cheese, butter, honey, and infant cereal and formula. Distribution sites make packages available on a monthly basis.

As of 2003, the program operates in thirty-two states and the District of Columbia. An average of more than 410,000 people participated in the program each month in 2002, including more than 337,000 elderly people and more than 73,000 women, infants, and children.

LINK: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/csfp/csfp_eligibil...




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ProgrezivIndie Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
17. "How about adding a link for commodity distribution program"
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 10:50 AM by ProgrezivIndie
It appears that "WIC" and "CSFP" are mutually exclusive programs, they serve a similar purpose... and since it's up to the individual to decide for which one they'll try to enroll, I've added your suggestion to this web page. I have not completely "drilled" down on the USDA website, so I missed CFSP.

Thank you for your suggestion!
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KewlKat Donating Member (867 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #17
21. They offer help to the elderly
so that's why I know about them.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
12. Nope, not surprised
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
20. Not surprised but I wonder if those rank and file morans who vote repug, are?
Seems that promise made to them about getting rich some day if they only WORK HARD, was a big fat deliberate LIE! And they fell for it, big time! :evilgrin:
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
23. In Goverment.... nothing happens by accident....
In a depression wealth doesn't disappear.. it is just transferred from the middle class to wealthy, who then swoop in and buy houses, cars, land and businesses at fire sale prices.

By withholding basic health care it keeps the masses docile (as they are con stanly sick and fighting for survival)

By keeping wages low, the elite then convince the masses that the best way to recovery is to give billions more to the banks and insurance companies. i.e. Give money to the very people that caused the problem in the first place!

Everything is going as planned. Soon the middle class (thanks to a compliant media) will be a distant memory. The wealthy politicians will have sucked every penny from Social Security and left nothing but IOU's in the cash drawer.



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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
24. I wish these articles would define middle class.
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ProgrezivIndie Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. "I wish these articles would define middle class."
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 02:19 PM by ProgrezivIndie
Valid point, but I can find no clear-cut definition myself!

Generally, I think the middle-class could be defined as those ABOVE THE POVERTY LEVEL, but BELOW THE WELL TO DO. But, then, whose definition of those other terms should we accept? I was recently reading some material regarding the government's definition/measure of those "in poverty" (some 30+ million Americans) is woefully inadequate since the criteria it uses does not take into consideration a whole slew of things... which leads me to believe the number is actually much higher. So if we could only come to an accurate definition of POVERTY, at least we'd know whether or not anyone has arrived at that level (or has been living in it all along).

As I said, your point is a valid one... how would you define "middle-class"? (just curious)
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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. I have no idea and as the next poster shows, the amount is
different in different regions.
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. it's not that black and white.
My husband and I came in at around 40 grand gross last year. The area where we live in allows that to be on the low side of middle class, we have 2 cars, can afford to eat out once in awhile, pay someone else to cut our hair, can afford to redecorate the bedroom every so often, can afford a modest vacation every couple of years, have a few dollars in the bank but no retirement savings, and no credit card debt - mainly because we have no children and medical care is affordable and obtainable for us and our costs of living are reasonable.

If moved to other areas of Atlanta I would have to live in a serious shit hole of a neighborhood and my housing costs would be so high that I'd completely lose my standard of living.

So depending on where you live determines if your income is enough to afford what we generally consider "middle class".
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johnlucas Donating Member (248 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
29. I said it on my 1st post here: There IS No Middle Class
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 03:09 PM by johnlucas
See read it here from last June on my very first post on DU in response to a poster with a well-written but slightly flawed post about "Middle Class".
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Middle Class is an illusion. Always was. Since humankind is greedy at the core, resources find themselves most collected in few hands. This is one of the Pyramids of Life. Lots have Little. Little have Lots. Lots (people) have Little (stuff). Little (people) have Lots (stuff). The ol' HAVES & HAVE-NOTS of legend.

Because so few people with so much stuff know that they are outnumbered, they play political games to protect their wealth. All sorts of mental games and brainwashes to keep the opposite populace unable to recalibrate this imbalance. Varying strategies of Divide & Conquer.

To keep the poorer divided amongst themselves, those hoarding the wealth allowed select opportunities for some of the poor to be less poor. You give someone used to having hardly nothing just a little bit of something & that someone will become pleased/complacent consciously or unconsciously protecting your wealthy status. They fight their own fellow poor 100 times before even thinking about fighting you. It creates rings of protection that prevent comeuppance.

Every now & then they'll open up a slot to a low rich level so that people can see the rare star go from "rags to riches" based on their "hard work". Never mind that lots of people work hard but it's received in thanklessness & paltry reward. Keeps a potentially unified force divided amongst itself with lots of infighting.

But sometimes the greedy wealth hoarders slip up & get too greedy upsetting this illusionary world. When those of the other side began to bunch together in cliques against the wealthy, it worries those wealthy. Strategems like racism, sexism, classism, regionalism work less & less and somebody has to renew those strategems or create new ones. Middle Class was one of those strategems.

They were what I like to call Poor First Class (like Private First Class). Enough resources to be separated from the struggles of starvation and lack of shelter but not enough to be independent from a work force's income. Trapped into renting homes from the banks mortgages, medical bills, student loans, car notes, & credit card debt, all the trinkets/gadgets they have collected cover the true vulnerability of those who bought into the label Middle Class. Sometimes they recognize this vulnerability which causes many of them to rail against the original poor who they are afraid of returning to. A Middle Class person is not wealthy enough to have his/her money work for him/her like the wealthy's money does. Yet they go out & collect so many trappings of luxury just like those wealthy. Basically a wannabe mentality.

If they lived like a poorer person with the marginal wealth they had, they would be a little more independent from that complicated web of strings. But that's just the temptation. When you make more, you tend to spend more. Wealth can create Waste & it's no surprise that a country rich in land & food like the U.S.A. makes inefficient use of its resources since there is seemingly so much of it.

It was always a twilight mirage. When reality returns those Middle Classers will find themselves just as Poor as those people they once ignored, patronized, dismissed, or were unable to relate to. The problems shouted out forever by the Poor are now championed by the Johnny-Come-Latelies who fell from their small hilltops. Will this unified poor stick together or will a new extra wealth allow the beneficiaries to lose relation once again?

One of the silver linings in times like these is that it gets things back to the core basics. It allows a chance to correct mistaken attitudes and beliefs. At the very least I hope it helps those Middle Class who forgot who they really were remember this unity when fortune comes their way in the future.
John Lucas
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W_HAMILTON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
31. Why don't people point this out more?
When those bastards are on TV talking about "oh, the horror of REDISTRIBUTING THE WEALTH!" why doesn't anyone point out how the wealth has been redistributed the greater part of the 00's, and no one on TV said ONE WORD. We didn't hear about "redistributing the wealth" until that Joe the Plumber jackass came along. Not a word. Know why? Because all of those assholes on TV are the rich type of people that benefited from the wealth redistribution over the last 8 years that left the rich richer and everyone else POORER.

Fuck them.
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