HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The hydrocarbon middle-cl...

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:06 PM

The hydrocarbon middle-class family

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 02:00 PM PST

Cataclysm in suburbia: The dark, twisted history of America’s oil-addicted middle class
How the same things that contributed to the rise of the middle class are also now leading to its downfall
Robert O. Self

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/30/cataclysm_in_suburbia_the_dark_twisted_history_of_americas_oil_addicted_middle_class/


Houses, cars, and children. For a century, they have defined the family economy, and they have driven the national economy. They organize our lives and shape our debts.

Their presence all around us seems so natural, and they are so tightly bound together in how we measure personal milestones and record family stories, we can forget just how recent and fragile their combination is, historically speaking. Developments in the last decade have served to remind us.

When the housing market and the automobile industry crashed between 2007 and 2008, signaling the onset of the Great Recession, two pillars of the national economy crumbled simultaneously. American households lost $16 trillion in net worth, and the federal government rescued major banks and automakers, to ward off an even greater collapse.

That shock came amidst the slow burn of the decades-long flatlining of blue-collar and pink-collar wages, and a mounting college affordability crisis. By 2013, working-class wages had not grown meaningfully against inflation for 40 years, while the average individual’s college debt had climbed to just below $30,000. Children, whether from the laboring or professional class, no longer imagine they’ll do better than their parents.

When President Obama promised to “build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class” in his 2014 State of the Union message, he as much as admitted that such ladders barely exist any longer.

snip

7 replies, 724 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The hydrocarbon middle-class family (Original post)
SoCalDem Aug 2014 OP
ChisolmTrailDem Aug 2014 #1
SoCalDem Aug 2014 #2
ChisolmTrailDem Aug 2014 #5
Eleanors38 Aug 2014 #4
Eleanors38 Aug 2014 #3
Laelth Aug 2014 #6
pscot Aug 2014 #7

Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:13 PM

1. And the banksters got away with their criminal enterprise, got bailed out. And they learned

 

that they can do this over and over again because, in order not to lose the "too-big-to-fail" banks, they will get another trillion-plus buck bailout.

Meanwhile, this next generation of suckers is the pump being primed for the next collapse and bailout around about 2018-2020.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ChisolmTrailDem (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:18 PM

2. That is the sad truth..

The next biggie will probably involve 401-ks.. I am so glad my husband just retired, and we got our money out..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SoCalDem (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:31 PM

5. No one was punished and the bad guys got yachts, private islands, and still find places offshore

 

to hide their money.

Nothing has changed.

Heard The Bernanke and Timmy recently told a group somewhere that the financial collapse, where we nearly lost 13 of the nations 15 largest banks (some did go under like Bear-Stearns and Lehman, and about 1000 smaller banks), was WORSE than the Great Depression. And, yet, NOTHING has been done about it. Because too many politicians also got rich.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ChisolmTrailDem (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:27 PM

4. Yep. Pirates are in charge & comin' back for more.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:25 PM

3. An adequate summation. The two things which will spark

 

disruption:

1) Continued crappy pay, no end in sight;

2) Back-breaking college loan debt.

Now do we understand why LEOs are militarized?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:32 PM

6. Absolutely. Well said. n/t

-Laelth

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 01:53 PM

7. This discussion kind of misses the point

of the article, to wit:

Finally, in an age when both the ineluctable warming of the planet and the depletion of oil reserves are both viewable on the horizon, the environmental foundation of the middle-class American family is undeniably eroding. Given the potentially life-altering changes the planet is likely to undergo in the next two to three centuries, erosion of middle-class life may be the least of our worries. The challenge lies in how to unwind the century or so of political, economic and infrastructural commitments that have been made to middle-class hydrocarbon living. Can they, one wonders, be easily converted into the foundation of something different?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread