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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 03:54 AM
Original message
On Wage-Slavery in America
According to the 2000 Census:
12.8% of US households lived on $25,000-$34,999 a year
12.8% of US households lived on $15,000-$25,999 a year
6.3% of US households lived on $10,000-$14,999 a year
And 9.5% of US households lived on less than $10,000 a year

This means that 44.1% of Americans lived on $34,999 or less a year

http://censtats.census.gov/data/US/01000.pdf




Such are the lives of the wage-slaves in the United States. Those individuals who typically work just as hard and long, if not more so, than their much higher paid counterparts, yet are paid significantly less.

These are the people who work for minimum wage or a few cents/dollars more per hour. Some wait-staff at times average less than minimum wage between their base rate and tips, despite the fact that their employer is legally obligated to ensure that they make at least minimum wage between the two. Absent or inadequate are benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, paid sick time and such that many more well-off employees tend to take for granted.

I know about this life from having lived it for the past 20 years. I have worked fast-food, retail and human services. Ive been in human services for over 18 years and am only making $3.98 more an hour than when I started, and I was not making much then. Most of my adult life Ive needed to work steady overtime or a second (even third) job just to make ends meet. Even with two full-time jobs I cannot break out of the 44.1% of Americans who live on $34,999 or less a year.

Life is similar for many of the people Ive worked with over the years. Many of my co-workers work overtime on a regular basis, or have second part-time or even full-time jobs to supplement their pay. Those who cant work second jobs because they have families might have a spouse or partner who contributes by working one or more jobs. Those who have no partner sometimes are required to apply for government benefits of one sort or another.

Working for such low pay also forces employees to work under conditions they shouldnt, and often wouldnt if they had proper benefits and/or salary. Employees come to work sick or injured, or return too soon after an illness or injury because they have insufficient sick leave. They let illness/injury go untreated because of inadequate, unaffordable or non-existent health insurance. They go years without dental care because they lack dental coverage.

Ive gone to work or stayed on shift countless times with severe migraines, which can take up as many as 12 days of each month (and historically have averaged 17 days of each month). Insurance limits, high co-pays and salary restrictions keep me from getting optimal treatment of this condition. A long-time coworker continued working her two full-time jobs as much as possible while being treated for abdominal cancer, taking off only for the most severe of symptoms. My friend Mike, also a migraine sufferer, will often work through migraines, making sure he has easy access to the bathroom in case he has to vomit on short notice.

Most disturbingly just this past Friday a young woman who was four months pregnant had a miscarriage. She came back in on Saturday not realizing that the supervisor had covered her shift for the entire weekend to protect the agency for liability purposes. This young woman, who barely 12 hours prior had sat in a hospital bed and expelled her fetus and placenta into a bedpan, stood there, anxious because she could not work her two 16 hour shifts. The two kids I already have still gotta eat and I dont have sick time yet. she said.


It shouldnt be this way.






Recommended reading: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenriech
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CrazyForKucinich Donating Member (676 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 04:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yet we keep electing pos Democrats who do nothing about raising the Min.
Wage to living wages.

Just one more reason I'm crazy for Kucinich...just one more reason I'll be utterly disappointed in America's Democrats when we elect another Democrat in 2008 who think $7/hr is going to make a big difference...ala John Kerry.

We have a choice. We have Kucinich.
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TheBaldyMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. Kuchinich/McKinney in '08
slam-dunk
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 04:21 AM
Response to Original message
2. The problem is I expect it to get a lot worse because
the American labor force is not sticking up for itself. Look at GM and the buyouts being planned. Corporate America wants to get rid of unions and they are bering really successful. Blue collar middle class jobs will become a thing of the past as more and more are shipped to Asia. No one wants to deal with it! You would think voters would be screaming about this
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 06:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. They ar e being terrorized
The threat of deprivation can make people suffer insane hardships IF they can be convinced no other alternatives are possible. Workplaces promote bullies on the job to management because sadistic bosses can intimidate workers into compliance. It's cost effective.

Not only is it wage slavery it is ABUSE.

Workers in america are being conditioned to accept slavery by being psychologically battered and exploited and terrorized by the wealthy and their sycophant bully management in the name of profits. It's kinda like battered wife syndrome in the low wage workers,stockholm syndrome in management and sociopath at the top.

Our society is structured so sensitive caring people are exploited and the socialized sociopaths the most evil,parasitic and predatory dregs of humanity succeed and have easy lives because they have no empathy for others.They fire people without agonizing about their lives,they cut wages without shame..They outsource with no guilt.That's why companies love sociopath CEOs and promote them to positions of power to lord over others well being and crack the whip and fire sadistic bullierrs get a charge out of the power trip and making people suffer.Companies love socialized sociopaths .Sociopathy reflects the immorality of profit driven greedy capitalistic ideals that it's good business to shit on people to get yours..
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. being psychologically battered and exploited and terrorized
Absofrigginglutely..... Kicked, Recommended... this is the truth of it and apparrently it is LEGAL in some peoples' eyes.
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. psychos in management
Great post, undergroundpanther. I've certainly seen what you describe.


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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
21. Indeed
They fire people without agonizing about their lives,they cut wages without shame.

At my weekday job where I work with people who have mental illnesses the agency once made the announcement that they were experiencing a "budget crisis". Over the next few months they laid off dozens of direct care workers, leaving the remaining staff overworked and clients underserved. No management or administrative staff were laid off.

At my weekend job where I work with people who have developmental disabilities they also claimed a "budget crisis" and came up with a "new salary scale". Their new salary scale reduced the pay of most employees by about $1.00 per hour. Once again, the administrative/management staff were not affected by the "new salary scale".

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LaurenG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 06:40 AM
Response to Original message
4. Excellent
kicked and nominated.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
6. It is only going to get worse.
Outsourcing jobs is draining good paying productive jobs out of this country.

"So the demand for jobs is considerably greater than the supply, and the supply is not what the reigning theory says it is. Most of the unfilled jobs pay low wages and require relatively little skill, often less than the jobholder has. From the spring of 2003 to the spring of 2004, for example, more than 55 percent of the hiring was at wages of $13.25 an hour or less: hotel and restaurant workers, health care employees, temporary replacements and the like.

That trend is likely to continue. Seven of the 10 occupations expected to grow the fastest from 2002 through 2012, according to the Labor Department, pay less than $13.25 an hour, on average: retail salesclerks, customer service representatives, food service workers, cashiers, janitors, nurse's aides and hospital orderlies."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/business/yourmoney/26...

Only when the United States middle class has dropped to the standard of living equal to what India and China now have, will we get our jobs back. But just a heads up, the jobs we will get back will be at $250 a month. This is the future brush and his minions have planned for us.

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. Oh joy
So much to look forward to. :scared: :cry:
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lovelaureng Donating Member (434 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
7. I once worked with a slightly older man
Edited on Sun Mar-26-06 07:01 AM by LoveOHBlues
who was being treated with chemo-therapy for an enlarged prostate. He worked everyday the treatments were taking place. No time off, very few hours missed. I felt really sorry for him. The treatment involved irradiated seeds being injected into him.
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Child_Of_Isis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
8. This means that 44.1% of Americans lived on $34,999 or less a year
I almost bet it is more in the 60 and 70 percent.
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tjdee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
9. I am one of those people, on the high end.
Last year I made about 23K. This year I'm making much more, and I'll be passing that 35K mark in a year or two. I have a degree, and I have a great, great boss. So I'm lucky.

I'm a single parent though, and I'm definitely being squeezed financially. It's not like we're eating filet mignon and going to Italy every month. I would love a second job. The cost-effectiveness of paying someone to watch my kid while I'm out working a second job, mixed with actually wanting to see my kid sometimes, rules that out, though.

I don't even dream of taking off from work when *I* get sick. That thought hasn't even entered my mind.
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Delphinus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. You are lucky you have a great boss.
Edited on Sun Mar-26-06 11:30 AM by Delphinus
Mine, in a meeting last week, said another position elsewhere within the "network" couldn't get filled because they were paying less than 30k. I looked at him, not saying a word (there's a time and place for battles) and wanted to say - It's not OK for this other position to earn only 30k a year, yet you don't fight to get me a raise to where I can earn more than $22k (BEFORE TAXES) because "I'm very well paid". Classism at its finest.

He's also the one I tried to talk to one time about the cost of rising gas prices and he just brushed it off. He makes a package of over $60k so unless it affects him, he's not concerned. And he's a freaking democrat!

Edit to add thankfully, when I was raising my son all by myself, I had two great jobs. One paid very, very well while the other one had a great family policy.
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
10. we have to re-fight some old fights again and again
You have to be able to have time to live your life, along with the hard work. Communism has not worked in Russia, and I would rather live in America than China or South America. I think the whole world will have to change now, because we have such an international economy.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
14. As far as I'm concerned this is the most important issue on the table.
That $34,999 is the equivalent of making $19,324.38 in 1986. Hardly enough to live on for sure. :puke:

Check out this Cost of Living Calculator:
http://www.aier.org/cgi-aier/colcalculator.cgi
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
15. If these guys remain Fooled, Scammed, Lied to, and Brainwashed...
by the Pub Lie...it will remain this way...

Richness comes from Awareness...
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
16. It isn't just unskilled people who make low wages
I have a 4 year biology degree. I have 5 years experience in quality assurance in the food industry and am looking for a different job. I don't really want to be a quality manager and am considering a slightly different field. The jobs that I qualify for don't pay well. I have seen advertisements requesting a 4 year science degree and requiring some lab experience paying $9 or $10 hour. I have applied to jobs that say "wage negotiable" and interview. They ask how much I want to make and when I say at least $14-$16/hour, the whole tone of the interview changes.
Almost every job advertised in the newspaper pays under $14.00/hour.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Trust me, I know
I have a BS in Psychology. It has gotten me nowhere.
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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
17. From the business perspective, this setup is far better than
literal slavery. In this case, the "slaves" are paid barely enough to pay for the necessities. In literal slavery, the slave owners are responsible for food, housing,clothes and medical. The new setup is easier. And, the slave don't realize that they are actually voluntary slaves.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
18. One measure makes it VERY clear: It's called the Gini Ratio
I've posted this repeatedly but it seems much of the DU community, like 'average' Americans, have such a "math phobia" that the impact of this graph is lost upon them (as they run in terror screaming 'No! Not a graph! I can't read those!'). Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so.

The Gini Ratio is a valid measure of how equitably income is distributed among familes. A Gini Ratio of zero ('0.0') would indicate that every family receives exactly the same income, while a Gini Ratio of one ('1.0') would indicate that a single family receives all of the income and all other families receive none. Clearly, neither extreme is ever seen. Nonetheless, a colonial plantation economic system is clearly indicated by a high Gini Ratio and an economy focused on economic equity is clearly indicated by a low Gini Ratio. It's also important to recognize that the income of a family/household may be the result of several members of the family working, possibly at more than one job or the result of purely 'investment' (ownership) income (or retirement income) where nobody actually works for a living.

Anyone who can look at the following chart and not appreciate the appalling deterioration of the American economy in the last 30 years is either math-challenged or a corrupt reichbot.

Both, hopefully, are curable.




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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
19. America is, for tens of millions of its citizens,
Edited on Sun Mar-26-06 12:25 PM by leftofthedial
worse than a third-world country


that's exactly what the repukes are wroking toward


keeping the minimum wage below subsistence level is fine, but discussing a maximum wage is communist class warfare.

I think we need to cap the maximum wage at no more than 25X the minimum wage. You'll see the minimum wage raised to $20/hour so fast your head will swim.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. No doubt
I think we need to cap the maximum wage at no more than 25X the minimum wage. You'll see the minimum wage raised to $20/hour so fast your head will swim.

CEOs not able to make 153 million a year? Perish the thought! :crazy:
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. Me likey!
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-26-06 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
20. I'll bet it's worse than 40% now, that was 2000 census data....n/t
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. I don't doubt it
2000 data was the most recent I could find. :shrug:
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 01:58 AM
Response to Original message
27. THANKS! (nt)
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 02:41 AM
Response to Original message
28. Buffie thanks for the Awesome article... 44% thats spells
a depression coming cause when 90%of a nations assets is owned by a few then that means we are headed there...
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-27-06 02:51 AM
Response to Original message
29. The middle class is collapsing.
My dad and many of his friends worked thirty or forty years for one, maybe two employers. They always had health insurance, and they made enough money to buy nice homes and cars. Their kids went to college. Now they are mostly comfortably retired. That was middle class.

Nobody expects this any more. When you go into any average workplace now, every day people fear they may lose their jobs, their health insurance (if they have it), their retirement (if they have it), their homes (if they own or rent them), and their cars (if they own them.)

To live in such fear, day in and day out, is not "middle class."
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