Death of our great middle class? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Death of our great middle class?

Well, this is depressing news:

"The longstanding presumption that factory workers at successful companies can achieve a secure, relatively prosperous middle-class life is evaporating."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/busin ... ref=slogin

judy
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 02:58 PM
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AS Caterpillar's managers see it, they have no choice. "There is a balance that must be struck between being competitive and being middle class," said Douglas R. Oberhelman, a group president. Although Caterpillar's factories are among the most productive in the world, the managers argue that the company cannot afford to be more generous simply because it is doing well right now.



That is such bull (insert expletive of choice). They most certainly CAN set the standard and be more generous but they do not want to stop stuffing their own pockets; please tell me how much THEY are making, these managers. How disgusting.

And, Shengmei, you can think what you want but the United States does not have "good ole' American blue collar values" anymore. What does that even mean?! We have 92% of the wealth in this country being controlled by 8% of this population. What that means to me is that a WHOLE lot of people work their whole lives away to make money for other people.

The middle class in the United States is quickly evaporating in this country and the divide between the "haves" and the "have nots" grows even wider.

I think I should go back to the cheese thread

You say revolution, I say jah. --O.A.R.

Dell and the two cats, Isabella and Hermione plus 5 amazing dogs
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, and huge corporations like WallMart only help lower the benefit and wage bar for every other business. We're going to end up having a huge majority of working class poor like we never imagined. Small towns are going to die like flies as many of those towns support their populations with small industrial/production operations. How will those people support themselves and their families? They'll end up abandoning their towns and flock to the bigger cities where jobs will be at a premium and they'll only be poorer there because goods, services and housing will be so much more expensive. Send their kids to college to get a better paying job? Forget it. The kids will join the service to get an education and may end up being killed in another ill conceived war. College is fast becoming the equivalent of what a high school education was in the past. Graduates are even now becoming "a dime a dozen" (in certain fields). I remember reading years ago how in Japan even janitors had college degrees! When it gets to that point then the really good jobs will tend to go to people who can afford only the "best" colleges & universities. Once again, only monied people will earn the most money.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 03:32 PM
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=/ I see a lot of truth in what Menagerie is saying - about the have and have-nots - especially where I live right now. There are the rich people... and the poor people... and I can't find an in-between anymore.

For a 1 br/1bath it's $700 (it can be cheaper - but it's about $500 for the bad side of town)... I think the wages are around $6-9 for most of the places around here. We have about 7 Get-Cash-Now shops in a 5 miles stretch. You either own a buisness here or work for someone - and most of it is retail or food. It's scarey.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 04:03 PM
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Before I moved to Ohio, I had no concept of 'middle America' - the part that's driven by factories and industry. I lived the first twenty-three years of my life in central Minnesota, where everyone worked in malls, food service, offices, schools, etc etc. Factories? What are those?

Then, I moved to industrial Ohio. Half the warehouses on old main street have been abandoned, windows broken out and bricks falling away. Many of the factories that once thrived are now gone. In my small town, there are a dozen dollar stores, three 'discount' groceries, and countless Cash Advance establishments. Everyone works in a factory - or, did, until the factories left. Sure, there's work to be found, if you're willing to accept $7/hr for manual labor, 10-hour days.

In my area, factory middle-class doesn't exist anymore. Something collapsed... factories closed, left America, replaced people with smarter machines. When I left my job at a local factory, they'd just replaced several assembly lines with new machinated processes. Entire lines that had been staffed by dozens were now run by four people. That's progress, I suppose.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aphrodeia
Before I moved to Ohio, I had no concept of 'middle America' - the part that's driven by factories and industry. I lived the first twenty-three years of my life in central Minnesota, where everyone worked in malls, food service, offices, schools, etc etc. Factories? What are those?

Then, I moved to industrial Ohio. Half the warehouses on old main street have been abandoned, windows broken out and bricks falling away. Many of the factories that once thrived are now gone. In my small town, there are a dozen dollar stores, three 'discount' groceries, and countless Cash Advance establishments. Everyone works in a factory - or, did, until the factories left. Sure, there's work to be found, if you're willing to accept $7/hr for manual labor, 10-hour days.

In my area, factory middle-class doesn't exist anymore. Something collapsed... factories closed, left America, replaced people with smarter machines. When I left my job at a local factory, they'd just replaced several assembly lines with new machinated processes. Entire lines that had been staffed by dozens were now run by four people. That's progress, I suppose.
And check out MI if you ever get a chance. Many of the once-thriving car manufacturing cities are literally ghost towns; the people left are stuck with rampant poverty and skyrocketing crime. It's so sad. People are derogatory about Detroit all the time but there a myriad of reasons that it's been left a shell of a city--and the people inside of it mirror that loss.

WalMART is such a perplex problem. Who doesn't enjoy the convenience of WalMart and there is no doubt that it has brought much-needed jobs and products to areas of this country that were in sore need of said employment and merchandise. But careful what you wish for, right?

They are about to leave Maryland b/c Maryland legislatures are INSISTING that they step up and pay more for employee health care. They had to override the governor's veto on this but we were a proud state that day. As if WalMart can't afford to pay health care for its employees!!!! here's the article about it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01251.html

You say revolution, I say jah. --O.A.R.

Dell and the two cats, Isabella and Hermione plus 5 amazing dogs
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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From that WaPo article:


"The bill will require private companies with more than 10,000 employees in Maryland to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on employee health benefits or make a contribution to the state's insurance program for the poor. Wal-Mart, which employs about 17,000 Marylanders, is the only known company of such size that does not meet that spending requirement."


Ah yes, corporate greed at its finest (why should we, the WalMart heirs and major stockholders, be forced to pay for their health insurance. NO! let the taxpayers pay for it!) Like I said earlier........lowering the bar for every other corporation to follow suit.

judy
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