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Author Topic: Is There Less Upward Mobility In The USA? Are You Better Off Than Your Parents? Back to Topics
SemiSteve

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 11:14:23 AM

I have heard on NPR and in reading liberal rags that there is less upward mobility in the USA than in other developed countries.

The rich send their kids to expensive private schools and groom them from the beginning to be rich also. At the same time they detest paying taxes and always try to reduce funding for public schools. This gives the rich a leg-up and suppresses the rest.

Republicans claim that charter schools are the best. But charter schools appear to pick and choose only the most desirable students. They effectively use public funds to suppress the poor and disadvantaged students.

I would have to say the answer to the OP questions for me are:

No and Yes.

My father worked and my mother didn't. Their home when they were my current age was a more expensive home than mine now; and they supported more dependents off one income than we do with two. I am doing fine now; but only because I live well below my means. And my retirement is not as assured as it was for my parents. I am thinking of becoming a writer when I complete my current career, and I will also probably work part time after 'retirement.' I worry about the cost of health care. My father's and mother's was taken care of by his long-time employer. And he got a pension. I have none of that. From my experience:

No and yes.

What about you?

wiki: Social Mobility



[Edited by: SemiSteve at 2/14/2013 11:16:50 AM EST]
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 10:06:36 AM

Many of our non immediate relatives receive subsidized public/private housing, HEAP, Emergency HEAP, food stamps, WIC, food bank handouts, daycare, Medicaid, local/private support, family support, $X,000 EIC/Tax Refunds, free cell phones/minutes, plus money from part-time jobs, under-the-table jobs/services etc.

Their bi-weekly haul at the food/goods distribution points is incredible.

Many are cash poor, yet benefit rich. They live low-stress lifestyles as they don't work, don't work many hours and have few responsibilities.

Some just signed up for pet food stamps - a private program that provides food for low income pet owners.

This is good news as they currently feed many of their pets food that they buy with food stamps.

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101Speedster
Champion Author Ventura

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 9:50:42 AM

There's no better country in the world to be poor in than the United States. Why do you think the world's poor is, in some cases, risking their lives to get here?
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 8:59:22 AM

"You are absolutely right. If people are in any doubt as the the change in wealth of the entire society, the poor included"

We work in many poor and low income households performing plumbing, heating, cooling, refrigeration, electrical, fuel delivery, emergency service, computer work, homeowner/landlord estimates etc.

Most have premium cable/satellite, broadband, multiple computers, multiple televisions, gaming consoles, air conditioning, 1 landline/VOIP phone and multiple cell phones.

It's also why many are broke.

This summer I did some computer work for a poor customer that was spending over $500 per month on air conditioning, digital cable, broadband, digital phone, DVR, netflix, World Of Warcraft and 4 pre-paid cell phones for their kids.

They were renting/buying their washer, dryer, 1 television and 1 computer from a rent to own business. While I was there the rent to own guys showed up to repossess their stuff, so they had to make a payment of a few hundred bucks on the spot.The inside porch had 5 large contractor bags full of empty beer cans, so they weren't hurting for money.
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teacher_tim
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 8:51:46 AM

My kids will not be better off than I am... considering the massive debt and ridiculous healthcare system we've saddled them with.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 8:37:20 AM

"We have some neighbors down the street who whine about being 'poor'. They have two cars a bigger home than mine and they are each willing to only work one job and some of those jobs are only part time jobs. They are constantly getting new jobs. They are letting their home deteriorate. They will not even pick up the leaves and other trash from their yard."

Blight due to laziness is why many areas passed blight laws. If owners or landlords don't mow, shovel, clean up yards, perform necessary maintenance/repairs etc, the city, town or village will perform the work for them, charge them, or make them vacate.

When I buy tax auction properties many have a city/town/village maintenance/repair lien on them dating months/years before the tax seizure.

I'm always amazed how unemployed people with nothing but time on their hands can't be bothered to mow, shovel, rake, paint, pick up trash, perform light maintenance/repairs.

About the only thing many will pick up are deposit bottles/cans.

Before they lost their home to tax seizure, one of the neighbors by one of my multi-family rental homes claimed they didn't paint or repair their home since they couldn't afford a ladder, primer, paint, brushes, caulk etc.

I gave them all these things, however the lazy bums never even started the job. Several weeks later I see the ladder I "loaned" them on a contractors van. He said he traded them a gaming console for the ladder.These lazy bums cried poverty, yet they were constantly in my store buying beer, cigarettes, scratch-offs, lottery tickets, pre-paid credit cards, pre-paid cell phone minutes, soda, energy drinks, ice cream, subs - too much to list.

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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 8:15:44 AM

On the topics of upward mobility and housing - rules, regulations, national/state/local codes, zoning laws, deed restrictions, environmental laws, permits, variances, property taxes, code enforcement etc has priced many out of the housing market.

Small homes, cheap homes, mobile homes, multi-unit homes have effectively been banned in many areas.

I made much of my fortune and current rental income streams converting large older residential and commercial structures to multi-family and apartment buildings, developing mobile home parks and renting/selling mobile homes that I set up on my properties.

These things aren't possible in most areas due to many of the above mentioned issues.Much of the population never gets ahead since they remain renters. They make landlords like myself wealthy,(Thank You)however their rent money would have been better spent buying their own home, building equity, saved and invested.

I've been a landlord since I was a teenager, so I started out my life collecting rent, not making rent or mortgage payments.



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101Speedster
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Message Posted: Feb 28, 2013 12:34:22 AM

SemiSteve: "It couldn't possibly be our heroes, the very greediest of the super-rich."

I see you are talking about our politicians again, Steve.
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flyboyUT
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:44:26 PM

'Median inflation-adjusted income has fallen.'

Oh really - do you mind trying to explain that to my parents who lived through the Depression and WWII. Try to explain that to my great grandparents that made a farm from what then was an untouched wilderness of Northern Hardwood Forest.

Go ahead and explain it to me when I remember working as a farm vegetable picker for 35 cents an hour. Try it again when I got out of college and my paychecks were just a tad over 500 bucks a month (after taxes) as a college grad Professional Forester. Steve yes the last few years some folks have seen their income go down. But we still live in the wealthiest nation the earth has ever seen. People still demand luxuries that even the rich couldn't dream of not too long back.

IMHO you need to lengthen your time period and look at what is wealth.

Because we have an ever increasing group of people who demand ever more and wish to work less to earn it I can understand why you think the way you do. But I just don't see it that way.

We have some neighbors down the street who whine about being 'poor'. They have two cars a bigger home than mine and they are each willing to only work one job and some of those jobs are only part time jobs. They are constantly getting new jobs. They are letting their home deteriorate. They will not even pick up the leaves and other trash from their yard.

My son finished college with our assistance. He is presently working two jobs - one full time and one 3/4 time. His wife works a full time job. They bought a home and will have it paid for in a few more years. He and the wife are building their investments with a portion of every check they get. His house is in great shape and he just completed finishing off the basement into more living space. He will retire and be wealthier than I. NOT because someone gave him anything - he went out and earned it.

People as a whole have more opportunity today than ever before. Yet all too few are willing to do what it takes to avail themselves of the opportunities.

I do agree that once one has the basic necessities plus a tad more it's enough. That's why I retired earlier than most folks do. That's why the wife was able to retire even earlier. But we have no bills and own everything we have free and clear. Our investments are growing well and we have no real concerns. We are still saving and living on less than our income. Do you think that happened by accident?

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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:41:53 PM

SS: "--And here we see the propensity to blame our economic problems on: a) The poor."


Actually I didn't blame the poor directly. They are who they are and will act according to their nature no matter what. It's like blaming ants for being in your kitchen when you leave food laying around. If the food is there and it's easier to obtain than working harder someplace outside to get it, they will come and they will multiply. Same thing applies to a significant percentage of people, with basically the same results.


mudtoe




[Edited by: mudtoe at 2/27/2013 7:43:41 PM EST]
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:34:41 PM

SS: "There is less upward mobility now than there was a few generations ago."

mudtoe: "That's a consequence of an ever increasing government."

--And here we see the propensity to blame our economic problems on:

a) The poor.

and

b) The government.

It couldn't possibly be our heroes, the very greediest of the super-rich. If we blame them what does that do to our dreams of possibly joining them one day? Kinda trashes the dream, eh?

Well, don't lose too much sleep over it. Even if you made it you might not really like it.

Ever hear the saying: "It's lonely at the top"?

Well if you ever make it to super-rich greedy 1%-ness don't expect everyone to welcome you with open arms. You may even find yourself with very few friends you feel you can trust. Most people with big bux become very suspicious of nearly everyone; fearful that they are trying to rip them off or take their wealth away.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:24:35 PM

"The chart tracks three economic trends in the U.S. over the last two decades, between 1992 and 2009. The first two lines — productivity and per capita gross domestic product — are rising. This is the unmistakable American success story, the one reflected in record corporate profits, growing wealth accumulation and the unmatched efficiency of this country’s economy. The third line tracks median household income, as measured by the U.S. Census. It shows the story of frustration and stagnation that so many Americans long ago accepted as a reality.

Shortly after 2000, the lines diverged. The economy hummed along, but many Americans, the ones politicians typically refer to as the middle class, stopped feeling the benefits."

Time magazine article
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:21:58 PM

SS: "There is less upward mobility now than there was a few generations ago."


That's a consequence of an ever increasing government. The more government, with it's associated regulations and taxes, the more difficult it is for someone to improve their circumstances. If you are already wealthy there are ways to protect that wealth because those who make the laws in government are wealthy also and will make sure that their own wealth isn't at risk, but it becomes ever more difficult to start a business and get wealthy yourself if you didn't start out that way.


mudtoe
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:11:29 PM

"10/02/2010 - It is easier to climb the social ladder and earn more than one’s parents in the Nordic countries, Australia and Canada than in France, Italy, Britain and the United States, according to a new OECD study. Intergenerational Social Mobility: a family affair? says weak social mobility can signal a lack of equal opportunities, constrain productivity and curb economic growth."

Source

Hmmm. 'Curb economic growth.' That seems to ring a bell. I wonder why?

[Edited by: SemiSteve at 2/27/2013 7:12:54 PM EST]
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:59:14 PM

Won't give it up, eh, guys?

There is a reason you won't dispute this fact:

'Median inflation-adjusted income has fallen.'

Because you know it is true! Go ahead and try to obfuscate. Dance all around it. That's OK.

Will you see people spending their money wisely? Yes.

Will you see people spending their money foolishly? Of course you will.

Note that I'm not disagreeing with you. I think we are actually all of similar thrift. I, too, live well below my means. I work hard. I see others being foolish. But that is not the point.

The majority of people in the USA have experienced downward mobility. Even though I am fine making do with less than my own parents had I am only OK because of the influence of my grandfather who made it through the Great Depression. I might have had a larger family if I was doing better. Those are choices I made that others don't even think about.

The very fact that there are so many spendthrifts should have contributed to a better economy. Lots of people spending everything they get? That's a lot of economic activity. The economy should be zinging along. But it is not.

There is less upward mobility now than there was a few generations ago. You guys are living in the past. America was once the land of opportunity; but not any more. Times have changed, my friends. Some can still make it big but most are sliding. We are all dealing with it in our own ways. But personal experiences do not national statistics make.
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MarkJames
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:56:12 PM

Few in our family ever used a mortgage to buy a home. Most built homes with earnings/savings/barter/labor or bought a fixer upper with savings.

One of my sisters was the first that I'm aware of that purchased a brand new home with a mortgage.

She was also the first that would have lost their home had I not bailed her and her ex husband out as it was way more home than they could afford at the time.
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mudtoe
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:45:36 PM

mj: "In the 1960s, the average home my grandfather built was about 1,000 sq/ft with 1 bathroom, no A/C and a 1 car garage - usually on a tiny building lot."


You are absolutely right. If people are in any doubt as the the change in wealth of the entire society, the poor included, just have a look at old TV shows. For an example of poor, check out the Honeymooners from the 1950s. For an example of middle class check out Leave it to Beaver. For an example of upper middle class check out The Dick Van Dyke show. Now compare those homes and their furnishings (not style or techno gadgets, just quantity and quality) with today.


mudtoe

[Edited by: mudtoe at 2/27/2013 6:47:11 PM EST]
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flyboyUT
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:37:00 PM

Steve says - "You're talking about what is available and what people spend their money on.

I'm talking about how much money they have."

Steve friend - I really hate to break it to you like this but what people spend their money on reflects how much they have and what they save and invest.

If you choose to spend large parts of your income on a house that is double what your folks had and yo choose to spend your money on othere extravagances then you will end up as being "poor". My parents choose to be frugal. They retired at age 62 and lived well for many more years.

My wife an I chose to buy smaller homes that we could have bought. We paid for our homes and saved at the same time. We both retired earlier than out parents and with more 'Wealth' in investments. That did not happen by accident Steve.

My feeling right now is that people dont understand the benefits of delayed gratification. They want everything and they want it now and if they dont get it then they squeal 'poor'. Nonsense is too kind a word.

I used to work with folks who were n 'assistance programs for older workers'. None of hem were there because of a lack of income Steve. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them were there because they wasted the income that had. They all had really big homes - once. They all ate out often. They all had multiple cars adn other toys. They all took many vactions and cruises. They all spent the money they earned and none of them saved enough to make any difference.

Steve listen to MarkJames....
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 6:21:13 PM

"As I said the average home is half again the size of the average home then. The average home now has air conditioning. Then only the wealthy had air conditioning. Look at all the other stuff that is considered a necessity to have now that nobody - even the extreme rich - did not own back then.."

In the 1960s, the average home my grandfather built was about 1,000 sq/ft with 1 bathroom, no A/C and a 1 car garage - usually on a tiny building lot.

I have to laugh when I see, work on, or buy these homes today as they look and feel so small, especially without high or vaulted ceilings. I own doublewide rentals that make these homes look tiny.

By the 1990s my average spec home was over 2,000 sq/ft with 2-1/2 baths, 2/3 car garage, central A/C - always on acreage.

My average kitchens and baths were much higher end as well.

One thing that's really scaled is the price of and number of vehicles and toys per household!

It's pretty common to see suburban households with 4/5 plus newer vehicles, plus motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles etc. There's often no room in the garage for cars between the toys, tractors etc.

Life is good...

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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 5:53:00 PM

Let's talk nuts or let's talk bolts. If I'm talking nuts (was there ever a better set-up?) and you're talking bolts we're screwed.

You're talking about what is available and what people spend their money on.

I'm talking about how much money they have.

Wealth disparity has grown.

The upper levels have gone way up.

The rest have gone down.

Dems da fax.
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flyboyUT
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 5:43:23 PM

"A family earning the median income today is not as wealthy in inflation-corrected dollars as one a generation or two ago." How do you define 'wealth'?

As I said the average home is half again the size of the average home then. The average home now has air conditioning. Then only the wealthy had air conditioning. Look at all the other stuff that is considered a necessity to have now that nobody - even the extreme rich - did not own back then..

There are more changes in populations too - like how many families were husband, wife and kids then vs now. How many then got married first, saved and bought a home and then started a family vs now where they dont even bother to get married.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2013 5:28:07 PM

Oh well, of course then. By all means, I stand corrected. Your personal experience in one family is far more reliable indicator of national trends than any observations of the social trends of an entire nation involving the whole general public.

I'm glad to hear that you are personally doing better than your parents, fly.

But please don't try to extrapolate one experience into that of a nation.

A family earning the median income today is not as wealthy in inflation-corrected dollars as one a generation or two ago. The fact of the matter is that we, as a nation, have experienced downward mobility since Reagan and Clinton relaxed financial regulations.

[Edited by: SemiSteve at 2/27/2013 5:28:39 PM EST]
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flyboyUT
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Feb 26, 2013 10:45:30 PM

"After WWII most families in the USA could live on one income. Moms could work if they wanted to but it wasn't necessary. Workers got a pension they could live on when they retired. And it included health care for the whole family. The family could still save and afford to send their kids to college, have a vacation and buy a new car every few years. They could pay off their homes long before retiring."

That is just not a complete true statement at all Steve!

My folks didnt even own a car until about 1951. They raised four kids in a home of 1200 sg ft. Moms worked all right. My mom worked nights and canned almost all of our vegetables. I remember my dad working two jobs. We had a 17 or 19 inch black and white TV and thought we were well off. Only one phone line in the house and yoyu better have a really good reason to make a call. My folks both got a pension when they retired. If it wasnt for the investments and savings they made separately from the company they would have been living on much much less. My folks could not afford to send their kids to college - we paid for our own college. They did not buy a new car until the old one stopped running and it was not feasible to repair it. They paid off their home (1200 sgft - what is the average starter home now Steve?) about a year after retiring.

Once more Steve your living in a fantasy land. You just dont know what it was like then - I lived through it - did you?
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 26, 2013 6:07:03 PM

It's too bad they call this the land of opportunity but really it isn't. What a cruel joke on us.

You have a far better chance to advance in France.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2013 12:11:19 PM

Excellent point, streetrider.

After WWII most families in the USA could live on one income. Moms could work if they wanted to but it wasn't necessary. Workers got a pension they could live on when they retired. And it included health care for the whole family. The family could still save and afford to send their kids to college, have a vacation and buy a new car every few years. They could pay off their homes long before retiring.

Now people are saddled with crushing debt just to get out of college. Two incomes are required to have a nice life. There is no pension and health care is extra. Many are afraid to take a vacation because they don't feel secure in their jobs.

We've gone downhill.

Unless you look at the richest. THEY have increased their wealth by magnitudes of ten.

And upward mobility? There is now less of that than at any point in our history. Mostly, people are stuck in the same life they are born into or even slide down a notch. Some try real hard and move up a rung or so. But for every one that does, they are severely outnumbered by many more who slide downhill. As we all know lay-offs have outnumbered creation of equal pay jobs. Any new jobs that are created usually pay less and have fewer benefits than previous jobs. This trend contributes to downward mobility, which far outpaces upward mobility in the USA.

Land of opportunity? Guess again.
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AC-302
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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 12:11:09 AM

SemiSteve - when I joined my last company, I had to take my 2 weeks vacation - a cut from the 3 weeks I'd negotiated with my last 3 companies. However, with my last company, I'd worked there long enough to accrue 4 weeks of vacation/y, and I had 6 1/2 weeks saved back before the layoff. My boss, when I first was negotiating terms, told me that he also had like 4 or 5 weeks and had to walk away from it. So, no. I don't see what your seeing. Now, are execs more likely to draw "comp time"? Sure. But I'd also tell you they work a whole lot more hours than the rank and file production employees.

The military is the same way. As I understand it, everyone gets their 30 days leave (can accrue it), no more and no less.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 6:56:31 PM

SemiSteve, "I'm not sure if I see the risks and losses of being an executive for a big US corporation"

Panama19: "They don't get to be executives without dedicating all of their waking hours to the company for many years on end."

--Yeah yeah. I'm sure they do work hard when they feel like it. They probably also get more time off than the rank and file. Lots of people work hard. Lotta very poor people work very hard and never get ANYWHERE. They would have an infinitely better chance of becoming an executive of a big corporation if they were born into a wealthy family, and get groomed from birth on for such a position.
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streetrider
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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 11:30:07 PM

None of us will have the retirement security or health care our parents enjoyed. Our lawless makers have seen to that.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 10:30:32 PM

SemiSteve wondered: "OK, I can see working beyond the point of 'having it made' if somebody just enjoys the work. But if they have already earned more money than they could ever spend why can't they bring themselves to pay their employees more? After all, the employees are the most integral part of a company. Why not share the gains of their efforts with them?"

--And I've seen companies (privately held) do exactly this. Have you not seen companies that are "employee owned"? And even in such companies or co-ops, the jobs are based on skill levels. The guy emptying trash cans doesn't generally earn as much as the management team that has to 'call the shots' and keep the business afloat.
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Panama19
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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 2:54:49 PM


SemiSteve, "I'm not sure if I see the risks and losses of being an executive for a big US corporation"

They don't get to be executives without dedicating all of their waking hours to the company for many years on end.

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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 2:50:53 PM

The people I'm talking about are job seekers and employees that want to be paid like employers, partners and others - many of which have invested/leveraged/risked much of what they have, worked countless hours, plus have made incredible sacrifices in their personal lives.I've known hundreds of business owners, but not one that had any kind of golden parachute.

Anyway, your value as a worker is set by the market - supply, demand, what the market will support and what others with similar education, knowledge, skills, performance are willing to work for. That's the short list.

If many want to make more money, they'll have to work for themselves.

Come join the party...
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 1:48:46 PM

I'm not sure if I see the risks and losses of being an executive for a big US corporation. Those guys get a gold parachute even if they run the company out of business.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 11:29:19 AM

Regarding sharing, many want to share in the gains, but they don't want to share in the investments, risks, losses and hard work.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 11:02:15 AM

OK, I can see working beyond the point of 'having it made' if somebody just enjoys the work. But if they have already earned more money than they could ever spend why can't they bring themselves to pay their employees more? After all, the employees are the most integral part of a company. Why not share the gains of their efforts with them?

It just makes these guys look really chincy.

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Panama19
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Feb 20, 2013 11:22:30 PM


Yes there is still a great deal of upward mobility for those willing to work hard and intelligent enough to work smart.

And I am much better off than my parents were, but this is not a great surprise since they were young adults in the depression and WWII and had a hard life. They did send all six of their kids through college though, and we all have more prosperity than they had (or even expected to have) in their lives.

As we are moving into our retirement age, we all are more comfortable than our parents were, though perhaps not as strong or determined as they were.

My parents were truly members of the Greatest Generation.


[Edited by: Panama19 at 2/20/2013 11:23:58 PM EST]
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Feb 20, 2013 10:11:06 PM

I would tell you that the Republican message of economic empowerment has not been well received by many, particularly ethnic folks who are Democrats. I would say this is largely because their objectivity has been affected by Democrat leaders (example: "They want to put y'all back in chains!" Where was the outrage from Dems on that slavery reference? Hmmm?) If folks would seriously listen and critically think about that message, they might find that they'd be better off with a paycheck than a welfare check.

SemiSteve asks: "I guess obsession with the constant desire for more-more-more is a mental illness. Why else would somebody who 'has it made' and never needs to work another day continue to work? That shows it is not about how much they have accumulated. That's not the point for them. It is the act of accumulating more that drives them. It is just a game with no end for them. How sad."

--Well, some folks like the pursuit of business and trade. Some folks like the pursuit of discovery and making new products, too. I'm one of them. That's why I have a patent portfolio - and my patents aren't lab curiosities. Some of them are making big money for some pretty big name companies that you would have heard of and probably own their products.

SemiSteve went on: "The way I see it, once you have made your contribution to society you should be content to sit back and enjoy what you have helped create. You earned the right to do that, to enjoy life. Interact with others. Create some special precious moments and memories. All that money can't buy that And you can't take it with you."

--I believe in a free market economy that people find their own level, like water.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 20, 2013 3:40:00 PM

The Republican party thinks they have a messaging problem. As if they are not getting their message across clearly enough.

I would suggest that they get a new message.

They keep trotting out these testimonials about people who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and became successful. And yes those people are out there. And some of them are Republicans. What they are missing is that such occurrences are rare and getting rarer. America is becoming the land of no opportunity unless you were born into it or you know somebody. Or you got some lucky break.

Otherwise why would so many join the Occupy movement? Why is student debt exceeding credit card debt? Why is it that all these people with college degrees can not find work?

It is because the super rich have already extracted the lion's share of capital OUT of the economy and there are too many people chasing after too few dollars.

That's why.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 20, 2013 1:09:45 PM

I could be said to be doing better than my parents on some ways; and not as well in others. Socially I am far better off. I have a fantastic and wide circle of close friends and am well-received by hundreds of acquaintances. My socialization has rewarded me through positive networking countless times and continues to. This could not be said of my parents. Very withdrawn and skeptical is a better description.

Monetarily, they look better. Raising a family on one income is not something I could do as well as they.

I am comfortable and will be just fine. Especially since I have learned that big money is vastly over-rated. Once you have your basic needs met plus a bit extra for discretionary spending you're as happy as you will ever be. Happiness is not something that can be bought. More money beyond the point of needs and comfort does not translate into more happiness. Happiness is up to you.

As far as happiness goes I have far surpassed my parents.

I know happy and sad people although I tend to draw the happy ones closer so I associate with more happy ones than sad. But there appears to be no correlation between money and happiness. My experience agrees with what experts say. It explains why there are so many sad millionaires and happy common-folk.

One thing is apparent as far as money goes. It is a good thing that one can be quite content without lotsa money. Because times are tougher now than they were when our parents were striving to make ends meet. Despite all our advancements which might make life easier the monetary benefit of nearly every advancement has been horded by the super-rich.

I guess obsession with the constant desire for more-more-more is a mental illness. Why else would somebody who 'has it made' and never needs to work another day continue to work? That shows it is not about how much they have accumulated. That's not the point for them. It is the act of accumulating more that drives them. It is just a game with no end for them. How sad.

The way I see it, once you have made your contribution to society you should be content to sit back and enjoy what you have helped create. You earned the right to do that, to enjoy life. Interact with others. Create some special precious moments and memories. All that money can't buy that And you can't take it with you.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Feb 16, 2013 2:53:21 PM

Well, my mother has an AS. My father doesn't even have a "real" high-school diploma, but has learned to speak in a certain way to make himself sound more educated and authoritative than he really is. If one scratches his "veneer", you see it right away.

Me? I'm college educated, now contemplating getting my THIRD degree - an MBA. Am I doing better than my parents? Definitely. I'm in that "baby boom" generation - but had I not got a graduate degree, I could easily have fallen into the first wave of "Gen X" - NOT doing better than my ancestors.

How about you, Steve? Are you better off than your parents? As I recall, you once said that your Dad was a career military man? Do you feel that you are you better off?
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 4:11:07 PM

I get the majority of decent buying/investment/barter deals via human networking as well.

Advertised deals are often NOT good deals, plus the truly good deals are snapped up quickly - often in minutes.

If you have to advertise for employees, it's often because the jobs aren't good jobs. There are numerous exceptions of course.

The same applies to rentals. I have a long waiting list, so I never have to advertise apartments, single family homes, mobile homes/lots for rent.

The last time I was going to put up a for rent sign, I rented the single family home to an assistant manager in the store where I was buying the sign.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:48:59 PM

That networking point is a good one. The best jobs I ever got certainly were the ones where I knew somebody.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:35:15 PM

"The middle-class, on the other hand, concertedly cultivates children's reasoning skills, which aids them in attaining the higher-paying, higher-prestige white-collar jobs."

The reason many middle class and up do well is due to human networking connections.

Most good jobs, buying and investment opportunities aren't advertised. These opportunities are only available via human networking.

Lower classes generally don't associate with the people that can help them the most via networking with dozens/hundreds of businesses, pulling strings, asking for favors, vouching for them etc.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:28:48 PM

Indirectly we're breaking the backs of surrounding regions by regulating and pricing lower classes out of the area.

We steer/push many lower income, unemployed, under-employed, unemployable, disabled and residents with special needs students to the regions with support systems - low income, DSS and Section 8 landlords, slumlords, public transit/taxis, walkable neighborhoods etc.

The unfunded state mandated Medicaid costs alone consume over 50 percent of the property taxes in many regions. Talk about back breaking...

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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:13:08 PM

mj: "The sooner we break the back of the system so to speak, the sooner necessary change will occur."


Obama is working as hard as possible on that one. If he's not careful though he will be so successful that the thing will come crashing down before he's out of office.


mudtoe
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:01:39 PM

"Annette Lareau disusses child-raising in her book, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life (2003). She describes two different ways to raise children: concerted cultivation and natural growth:[citation needed]

Concerted cultivation, normally used by middle-class families, incorporates scheduling many structured, organized activities for the child. Such children learn to use their language to reason with parents and other adults, and they often adopt a sense of entitlement.
Natural growth is almost the exact opposite of concerted cultivation. Occurring mainly in poor or working-class families, this style of childrearing does not include organized activities, and there is a clear division between the adult and the child. Children usually spend large amounts of their day creating their own activities, and they hardly ever speak with adults. In fact, adults use language in order to direct or order the children, never to negotiate with them.

These two different types of childrearing can affect inter-generational mobility. Children who grow up with a concerted cultivation style of childrearing learn from their parents how to talk with adults as equals and negotiate to get favorable outcomes in any situation. This skill helps them create powerful social networks, which can improve their social standing. Children with natural growth accomplishment tend to have a more difficult time improving their social standing. They lack the social skills and sense of entitlement that children raised with the concerted cultivation method have, and therefore are less likely to acquire good jobs (and therefore, improve their social standing). Children who have been raised with natural growth do learn to comply with authority figures, instead of arguing with them, which gives them an advantage over concerted cultivated children in certain fields of employment. However, those are generally the entry-level fields (which pay people to follow orders and not to think) and are therefore the lower-paying ones. The middle-class, on the other hand, concertedly cultivates children's reasoning skills, which aids them in attaining the higher-paying, higher-prestige white-collar jobs.[citation needed]"

--This makes so much sense!
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 1:55:25 PM

mudtoe, I'm talking about relatively simple jobs many people won't do since they're uneducated, unmotivated, unskilled or don't want to perfom hard work, get their hands dirty.

We get paid big bucks to perform relatively simple maintenance, service and repairs I could have done when I was 12 years old.

Unless the number of producers and/or their income grows, the goverment, state, counties, towns, cities, villages etc will have to make some serious cuts, plus borrow a lot of money and/or default on debt.

The sooner we break the back of the system so to speak, the sooner necessary change will occur.

Many of our cities with nation leading property tax rates went literally decades before they started making necessary cuts. It's too late for many of them to make a comeback, but they serve as a good example of a bad example.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 12:56:23 PM

mj: "On a positive note, this creates more jobs for motivated individuals, plus numerous jobs supporting the people that can't or won't do for themselves."


That's kind of a losing proposition though. For every one of those jobs that gets created, how many new takers do you think it requires create that job? Also, those jobs tend to be in government, which since they are paid by taxes and deficit spending, they aren't exactly helping the economy.


mudtoe

[Edited by: mudtoe at 2/15/2013 12:57:05 PM EST]
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 12:47:46 PM

The other day I had a conversation with a customer about the growing number of residents in their region on numerous welfare benefits and local handouts. (At the time the line of people at the free food/goods distribution point was so long that they were lined up in front of her home hundreds of yards away. This is in an area that once had some of the most millionaires per-capita in the country.

They said "don't these people want more out of life?" . I told them they "want" more, but not if it requires motivation, hard work, sacrifice, discipline etc.

Much of the population is fat and happy so to speak. They're happy just getting by. As long as they get their housing subsidies, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, daycare, HEAP, Emergency HEAP, cell phones/minutes, $X,000 tax credits/refunds, local/private/family support, plus make some money working part time, or in the underground economy, they're happy as pigs in $hit.Our liberal support systems have created a massive and growing underclass of under-achievers.

On a positive note, this creates more jobs for motivated individuals, plus numerous jobs supporting the people that can't or won't do for themselves.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 11:56:14 AM

The welfare and nanny state will halt upward mobility. It is becoming more and more difficult for someone to actually improve their own circumstances through smarts and hard work. That is the truth of socialism. The wealthy will stay wealthy because they already have their money, and since those who make the laws in government are by and large very wealthy themselves, they will not enact laws that will result in their own wealth getting confiscated. Instead, what gets punished is the ability to turn good ideas and hard work into wealth in the first place.

The increasing taxes will make it ever more difficult to accumulate wealth to start with. Those who already have it though will be safe because the lawmakers will ensure that taxes on investments are low enough that their own already existing wealth can be preserved or even grow. Now, this may take the form of a bunch of arcane loopholes rather than simply keeping the capital gains rate and dividend rates low, but somehow it will be done.

This is what happens in Europe. Ever wonder how the wealthy dynastic families in Europe keep their wealth even in the socialist tax environment? Also, when you think of upward mobility, how many entrepreneurs from Europe can you think of that got rich from humble beginnings? The only way to riches in Europe from common beginnings these days are to either marry it or to be the one in many millions that makes it big in the entertainment industry. You basically can't get there by starting and growing a business because of the taxes. This is the path we are walking.

mudtoe
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gocatgo
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 11:53:40 AM

"Less upward mobility", I'm not a big social climber and could care less about being with the in crowd. My friends vary from Drs. to red necks. I treat and appreciate them the same.
I am much better off than my parents. My Mom died in 1963, Dad in 1986 and they would be surprised how well I did. Had they lived into old age I would have loved to spoil them. My son at age 41 is not where I was financially at the same age. On the other hand he believes it is up to him to make it in the world. He is a consistent steady hard worker and I believe he will make it.

Steve, I believe in following your dreams. However you can do as I did and wait until you get older to do the things you want to do. Even if you have to write part time while you work, do it. Great Topic.

And as I always like to say, "Life's Been Good To Me So Far"~Joe Walsh.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 11:18:26 AM

Interesting.

So far the only people who have responded are doing better than their parents did.

But nobody is willing to touch the first question.

The first question deals with how we are doing as a nation compared to other nations.

The second question is not indicative of national trends; but gives a bit of insight as to where posters here are coming from on the issue.

The Republican party seems to be trying to lean on this idea in their messaging that the USA is this unique land of opportunity; and because they can trot out some examples of people who have started with nothing and gone far that this is something that is probable if you just work hard enough for it.

It is a message that resonates with those who have done just that.

But as they found out in the 2012 election that message does not seem to resonate with a majority of people. It appears that the USA is a land where you can make it big if you try hard enough and you get some good breaks; but for most the reality is that most are experiencing downward mobility. Many try very hard and never get any big breaks. They work just as hard as their parents did and find that they don't have it as good.

"Research on American mobility published in 2006 and based on collecting data on the economic mobility of families across generations looked at the probability of reaching a particular income-distribution with regard to where their parents were ranked. The study found that 42 percent of those whose parents were in the bottom quintile ended up in the bottom quintile themselves, 23 percent of them ended in the second quintile, 19 percent in the middle quintile, 11 percent in the fourth quintile and 6 percent in the top quintile.[8] These data indicate the difficulty of upward intergenerational mobility. There is more intergenerational mobility in Australia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Spain, France, and Canada than in the U.S. In fact, of affluent countries studied, only Britain and Italy have lower intergenerational mobility than the United States does (and they are basically even with the U.S.) We know less about the long-term mobility of the top 1 percent, but all indications are that people in this rarefied group usually don’t drop very far down the ladder.[9]"

9. ^ Winner-Take-All Politics by Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson, 2011.
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