Editor's Note: All this week in our special series "Broken Government," CNN is taking a hard look at our nation's government; the frustrating problems and the potential solutions. Today, our Carol Costello reports on the growing struggles of the American middle class. Tomorrow on American Morning, we look at why banks still aren't loaning and what the answer is for small businesses.
By Bob Ruff and Carol Costello
What does it take to be part of the American middle class?
Here’s the tried and true way: Get an education, work hard, get a good paying job with benefits, raise a family, buy a house and a car or two and take a vacation once a year.
Put it all together and you’re describing not just the dream, but the fulfillment of that dream by tens of millions of Americans during the last century. But that was then, before the hard economic times following 9/11, and this is now.
Meet the Bindners of Alexandria, Virginia.
“I think the middle class,” says Moira Bindner, “is trying to get a handle on where their feet are because it feels like the rug has been totally pulled out, and it’s really challenging on a day to day basis to accomplish everything with the paycheck coming in the door.”
For example: “You don’t go to the dentist, you don’t get your car repaired until it’s desperate...the retirement plan went out the window and our credit card debt went up,” says Moira.
Moira works for a company that manages professional speakers. Her husband, Michael, works in education. Both have lost their jobs, and while they are now back to work, their combined salary is thousands less than it used to be.
Commerce Department statistics show that the Bindners are hardly alone. From 1990 to 2008, middle class incomes rose just 20%, and most of that happened in the 1990s. Since then, income has stagnated for people in the middle, yet home prices shot up 56%, college costs 60%. As for health care, no one would be surprised to learn that it’s up 155%.
According to some, government has made the problem worse.
Jacob Hacker is a Yale University political scientist who just published “The Great Risk Shift,” a book about the decline of the American dream. He says, “there’s a lot of pressure for politicians to appease those who have the most money in the system.” He’s talking about big political donors and lobbyists who represent the rich and powerful.
Washington gets that there’s a big problem with the middle class in America, says Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution. But “none of them are willing to do the unpopular things, which means they’re not willing to raise taxes, and they’re not willing to cut spending. So we’re at an impasse now and it’s getting worse day by day.”
“The only thing that has come out of Washington is more and more gridlock and more and more game playing,” says Moira.
So, we asked her if government is broken?
“I would say, not broken, but bruised...I think it’s bruised.”
This is supposed to be a Government, "Of the People, By the People
and for the People"! It got lost during the Nixon Presidency. We had
a crook in office and it hasn't stopped since. The money that Bush and
Obama have spent is not their money, It is our money. We elected these clowns to represent us and that is something they fail to realize.
Get rid of special interest groups, lobbyist and any faction that is trying to subvert the clowns we sent to represent us. In-fact, get rid of all of them and send in a new group (if you can find any honest, non-lawyer person who is a polititian [ I think this is mutually exclusive though]
to replace the clowns in office now. Congressmen, and Representatives need to get with their constituents and find out what
they want., not what some lobbyist that has " wined and dined" them is asking for. We need a major overhaul of what used to be our Government. Start by impeaching Obama and Nancy Pelosi, they have no Idea of what the people want or need....
just posted this article on my facebook. it's an interesting read for everyone.
Enough already over 2 years of economy getting worst and no solution .I truely believe that our elected officials are clueless as to what happen .So i ask cnn to help me out here ,here is a breakdown of what happen to the economy .In or around 2005 gas prcies start going up and down which started eating away at the working poor excess money .Then we had two hurricanes back to back which put some people out of work for a little while ,more income lost ,then we had higher insurance to pay for hurricanes ,more lost income for the working poor at this time the housing market was good .Rent was higher ,then more rise in gas prices ,then food started going up .All of this inflation and lost wages push the working poor over the edge .Less income and more cost of living cause them to have less money to spend and also cause them to fall behind ,as this kept on for a while joblost started which push the housing market over the top .
You see the working poor is the core of the economy ,if you they get knock out of the game the game eventually stops .These arethe people who never get any credit ,these are the people that makes the most scrafices and never complain or ask for a hand out .These are the people that do the hardest dirties jobs for the least pay .These are the life of the small bussiness which inturn are the life of the larger companies .This is were the problem and solution lies .We need to get help for these people in order to start healing this economy .Unless this is done we are looking at 3-4 years at least for a turn around .Whom ever is reading thisif you csn help please do thanks .
Thanks Middle Class. I've decided that I'm now retired at the age of 33. I'm never going to work again. The Govt pays me $200 per month to pretend to find a job. That's good enough for me. I tried to get a job but every white interviewer that I had laughed at me and refused to hire me. I find that a betrayal. So I've decided not to work at all, I ranked in the top 99 % of all math students in the country but I can't even find a job with any sick days. How does that work? So anyway, thanks for the early retirement. I use my poker money for my little hobbies, I own my own house and I use the Govt to pay for my food. Thanks. I could have been a worker but instead, I'll just retire.
Move to Calif., and become a government employee. You can retire at 55, lifetime family medical benefits(free) and annual cost ot living rasises. Over 5,000 retired Calif. employess get over $100,000. a year in retirement checks. see
The government for all its very recently visible flaws is not broken....the society it represents is. Its the general ignorance about how the system works that causes people to believe its broken when progress isn't being made. The grim reality is that most believe their civic duty ends with a trip to the local school or library on that Tuesday in November. How many people really know their candidates and what they stand for? Anyone ever been to a party caucus (anyone even know what one is) or maybe researched some of the decisions your incumbent has made to see if they are doing their job at any other time then when the stimulus bill was voted on? How about sending them an email or giving them a call about an issue you feel strongly about? We as the middle class have to be just as angry at ourselves for our lack of commitment to our system....we are the majority in this country still. It is time to stop letting mainstream media determine what the issues are and what our candidates will stand for. It is profoundly saddening that the media will promote a candidate as "someone you can sit down and have a beer with." I can sit down and have a beer with many types of people most of which I would never cast my vote for. Petty differences over what I call the Big 3 social issues (gun control, abortion and gay marriage) have been used cleverly by the two parties to divide our majority with great success. The middle class must learn to look beyond this shady tactic and force a candidate and party to reveal its true platform...because this is what will truly effect us as a group. The social issues will still be there to debate as they have been for decades (for all their posturing about these changes neither party has made any significant inroads into changing any of these issues). Its time for a renewed middle class commitment to civic duty. Only by doing this will the ship be righted and the continuing insults to the collective intelligence of said class be stopped.
Although I do agree that we have managed to elect some of the most incapable our society has to offer, the fact remains that WE elected them. None of these people were appointed and their tenure is of no consequence. We must learn to vet these people as though we were going to give them our children or the account number for the family nest egg to look after for the duration of their term (in essence that is what we are doing). To do that requires investigation, knowledge and an understanding of the system and the issues (most of which you will not get from CNN, MSNBC, or god forbid, FAUX News). It also requires open public political discussions (oh yeah, I said it) during which people voice their opinions backed-up by facts (not including hired hitmen from large corporations (who may, on paper, have the right to free speech, but still no right to vote)). The reason that Washington is alienated from the rest of the country is just as much the fault of the country as it is the fault of Washington. They can't possibly know what our issues are unless we tell them and you can never assume that there is someone else out there doing it for you (because American Idol is on tonight). We must create and mold these candidates from the beginning and that requires a level of involvment beyond the current apathetic status (couple minutes to submit an email during a commercial break of Grey's Anatomy?). And so I begin to ramble, but you get the picture....middle class gets their heads out of their collective posteriors and gets involved equals better country and progress...your vote actually doesn't count when its made in ignorance.
Capitalism turns into a small amount of the population with most of the capital unless it is regulated by an external force.
I know of two of these regulating forces:
1 – Unions
2 – a progressive tax policy that redistibutes extreem wealth.
The GOP has had a battle against both of these forces and we now have a gathering of power and money in fewer and fewer hands.
Larry Nelson wrote: "The best thing that the baby boomer demographic could do for my country is to die off sooner rather than later."
Gosh Larry, thanks for that cogent, well-reasoned analysis. We're all *so* impressed that you've come up with a solution for "your" country. Guess it doesn't belong the the baby boomers, after all.
And since ALL of those silly boomers must have been stereotypic flower children with no common sense should have been stopped from creating an entire generation's of ambient wealth and cultural freedom that you now enjoy. I'm sure you'd enjoy a return to the days when a family of 5 shared a car, and dating was meeting your honey on the front porch for lemonade, with a chaperone of course. Naturally, you'd tolerate – nay, celebrate such a development.
And while we're at it, I guess you're not African American, are you? Those darned crooked, clueless, gutless, wimpy flower children getting themselve killed trying to allow non-whites to vote in the 60s. You *do* remember that, don't you. You did finish a college history course? If so, did uh, someone else pay for it. Perhaps a baby boomer?
A clueless baby boomer
A list of things to do to fix our broken government (congress and the senate):
1. Public financing of government elections:
Our public officials are owned by special interest groups that got them into office through money. They do not work for the people. Pay for elections only with public money. No outside money influence.
2. Term limits:
Limit the number of terms a public official can have. No more than 3 terms.
This will force the bad ones out.
3. Let the People vote on all issues in congress and the senate:
Make the issues public and give the people 1 vote in the congress and the senate so the officials can see what the majority wants.
4. Bar lobbyist from congress and the senate:
If the members of government want information let then do research.
5. Require all laws to have known financing and a time limit:
These run on programs that have no reason must be stopped.
6. Pay the congress and the senate a large salary:
Pay for the best people but this can only be done if term limits are in place. #2.
I am one of the lost and floundering Middle Class of America. What a joke. My job was cut from 37 1/2 hours per week to 30 hours, my pay
by $13,500. My expenses continue at the same level as before, but less spendable funds to stretch. I continue to pay into my 401K and watch it leak out into cyber space. I am 71 years old, still working, not because I want to, but because I have to. What happened to the American Dream? It went to the lobbyists and our elected officials in Washington. I for one am not going to vote for anyone in office in the next election. Going to vote for new jerks and vote them out in 4-6 years. I'm tired of the Fat Cats grabbing everything and not listening to their constitutients. Time to take this country back. Thought Obama would help us do that, but he is mired down in bs left him by the previous administrations. No help for us anywhere.
The middle class in the USA are (sad to say) people who thought they were going to get to ride shotgun on the road up to riches and fame in this country. They stopped complaining sometime during the Reagan era about the inequities big business and corrupt government were perpetrating on the lower classes because after all they considered themselves exceptional.
They waved a lot of flags, stood up at every national anthem, despised every legal protester and the worst they forgot the spirit of dissent that our founding fathers distilled in us when corrupt governments raised their pointed little heads. Many are still sending their children off to fight battles on the side of this corruption proudly.
And we want to be pitied now because the powerful haven't played fair. They helped outsource our jobs, they abandoned our workers for cheaper labor in third world nations, and they distribute welfare to high finance and to Wall Street CEO's when they
bungle up the free market and are threatened with going broke. American commerce doesn't matter any more, its multinational corporations commerce that rules the day. That's one of the reasons our revolution was fought over against the British, was so that Americans could trade and sell our own goods on the open market to any other country we so desired without British Intervention or taxes. well we the middle classes handed that right, straight over to multinational conglomerate corporations. Oh yes we were riding shotgun alright... until the driver pulled out his own shotgun and forced us to open the door on our side and jump out. Who was that driver America?
I've read quite a lot of the comments herein, but don't have the good eyesight to continue. They all seem to be saying pretty much the same thing. I've been using the term "THIEFALISM" to describe today's mess of government, big business, and politics in general. I think our leaders in Washington have forgotten what CAPITALISM is truly about. They are turning it into THIEFALISM.
Goverment has to much money , by taxation , and fines .
The congress and senate are in Washinton D.C. to long
The secound is entitlements and retirement , after 20 yrs of service ( employment) .
Cost of living increse ie Omaha , Neb owes the fire and police retirement fund over $500 million dollars .
Goverment is a non- profit enity,they don't have to make cents or sense.
There are a lot of things that have been mentioned about our broken government, but, no one has said anything about how easy it is for people to file bankruptcy, to me that is stealing, plain and simple. They should have to go to prison if they file bankruptcy after spending money that isn't theirs with no intention of paying it back. Our U.S. Court system allows this.
I've read quite a lot of the comments herein, but don't have the good eyesight to continue. They all seem to be saying pretty much the same thing. I've been using the term "THIEFALISM"
60 years late. Just when studies came out stating that the middle class is better off than ever, our money handlers, along with our govermant, were making deals with countries we were at war with. Thus we are 60 years to late.
There are interesting as well as ignorant opinions here. Republican/Democrat; rich/poor; pro big business/anti big business. I, being a red blooded American, am tired of funding those refusing to be a productive part of society. I am tired of funding "baby factory" mothers whose goal in life is to have another child in order to get more gov't subsidies. I am tired of my freedoms being eroded by law after law. I am tired of being lied to by the people whose salaries I help pay. The system is broken and has been broken for some time. Republicans cannot fix it, Democrats certainly cannot. We need a business man to run the gov't. An American business man that has a stake in what happens. Present gov't officials have no stake, they get paid whether they are in office or not. Using that as an example, do you think if they had to collect Social Security instead of their golden parachute, the SS system would be in the state its in? I feel certain the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves watching the country they started going down the tubes. In case you have any doubts, I am Christian, American and I work for a living.
What most people don't seem to get is that after communism fell, all this was inevitable.
When corporations were afraid Americans and Europeans were going to become communists, they were forced to treat workers like human beings. When the major communist countries fell, or went capitalist, those constraints were lifted and the several thousand of the world's richest people began once again making decisions as if the peasants were a disposable commodity.
Corporate feudalism is where we are headed unless the peasants revolt, and as long as cheap food, cheap drugs, and entertainment television are available, revolt won't happen.
If I were at the top of the hierarchy, I'd be worrying night and day about keeping energy prices low. Without that, you can forget about cheap food, cheap drugs and entertainment television, or continuous power, for that matter.
Government has grown too big to fix anything now. It will never happen, and only get worse. Politics, lobbying and special interest rule the legislature now
What a bunch of cry babies.
The Federal Gov't doesn't exist to redistribute to you money accumulated and generated by someone else's efforts. Any benefit the government gives to you for free comes from the earnings of other Americans. Remember, the government doesn't create any wealth on its own; it can only take from people that earn it and redistribute it to those that don't. You have no entitlement to the money or wealth of any other person or business. Take care of yourself. Learn a new skill. Your attitudes of self pity are truly pathetic. Government is not the answer. You are the answer.
And by the way, isn't a corporation just a group of people working together towards a common goal? They are organized and working to further their best interests. They, like you and me, want government policies that are friendly to their business. What's wrong with that? Isn't that what everyone wants? They vote, you vote, someone gets elected. Their interests may be differenet than yours, but that's just the way it goes.
No political party or politician is going to change your life or save you. You have to do it on your own. Government is not your mama. Work hard, value education, perceiverence, living within your means, eating healthy, exercising, avoiding booze and drugs, you know what I'm saying. Take responsibility for your own state of life. Stop feeling so overwhelmed.
America is great because of it's potential, the opportunity it provides....it is not about guaranteed results. Some will rise, some will sink. It's been like that since the beginning of time.
If you feel that your personal boat starting to sink, stop complaining that the water feels cold and start bailing and paddling. Only you can get your boat to shore.
In America, so much is still possible for those of character and courage. Are you one of those people?
Bottom line is we need to get rid of the good ole boys in Washington, who have been there absolutely too long, who has been bought and paid for by the wealthy. Get rid of the lobbying firms that the rich use to buy Washington.
@David- I understand your logic of save and spend; but when you have a government working against the majority who keep the system a float; it is pretty hard to not get in debt when your government allow gas prices to be highjacked, food prices to go thru the roof, healthcare to become a pay or you die fund, and banking systems that uses us as puppets to support their greed and lavish lifesyle. Secondly, remember the majority of America was doing fine until our government allowed greed to continue grow and fester into a monster. Hard working people lost jobs, which meant they could not afford to pay high gas prices, high food prices, continue to send kids to college, pay mortgage, and the jacked up healthcare premuims. No matter how much you save, eventually savings will run bust and whatever job you do find, will not accomodate the listed necessities. These things are not a want they are necessities. Lastly, if you have a terminal ill child or spouse, without question or doubt, it doesn't matter how much you save, no average American can afford to continue to pay the daily bills of high living cost, on top of the henderous hospital and medical bills push on us by our greedy government, insurance companies, and the wealthy pigs, who only see themselves. Not all are living beyond their means, many are doing the right thing, but unfortuntely doing the right things still are not keeping us from going broke.
The middle class keeps getting hit with the brunt of everything. No matter what the Government tries to do, let's help the poor so we'll tax the rich, guess who ends up actually paying for it. The little guy working two jobs trying to get through life. The rich fund the politicians and will either find a tax loophole or charge the tax on whatever the middle class guy buys.
The actual only fair tax of all time is a sales tax because it hits everyone. But then you end up with stupid charges like on our phone
bills that make no sense, but we pay for it.
It's the middle class guy that always gets laid off too. But do we ever see our Government cutting back. There are tremendous ways to save money and energy. Create a 10 hr, 4 day work week. This cuts energy use and cuts the cost for employees having to travel to work. It also allows for more time with family and can help local businesses.
So I don't care what Party is in charge, it's the people that they work for that they are forgetting.
"MC" can't think of anyone to bash other than people who work for a living? Cops making $200k? Right. Brilliant: bankers hold the economy hostage and make $100M, but you're going to rant against union members. Maybe everyone should work for Wal-mart wages–except you, of course.
When did unions become bad guys? Turn off Hannity and Beck and start thinking.
When america was started was it not to get away from taxation. Now we are a country of taxes. If the government gets 20% then they will use 30%, if they get 30% then they need 40%. When will it stop. Middle class america will eventually be poverty level america. GREED is what it boils down to.
Since the Supreme Court has said it's a constitutional right of any person or entity to exercise their free speech rights in terms of "payoffs", perhaps we should look at the other side of the payoff equation. I don't believe that our elected officials have a constitutional right to the moneys lobbyists give them. Perhaps a law requiring all lobbyist payment to be put into a dedicated fund to be used for paying for elections would be a way to limit the influence on individual congress members. I think everyone can agree that a major cause of our broken government is all the money that our elected officials slosh around in all day.
How is it that it's big businesses fault ? They did not spend all the tax money away...in fact they put it there to begin with.
Everyone don't want to pay more taxes, yet want govt. to increase spending in domestic services. It's sort of like everyone is using govt. as one big gigantic credit card - swipe the card for services now, worry about paying later.
The problem is that no one, and I do mean no one, wants to pay the price of addressing our core problems in a meaningful way.
First, we must reindustrialize America and sell more to the rest of the world than we buy from it. This means a trade policy that puts Americans to work in American factories.
Second, we must balance the federal budget and begin the long process of retiring the debt. This means gutting entitlements, which is where the money is being spent. We want free healthcare; the babyboomers want their retirement. At some point, the rest of the world will stop lending us money, and then, we're in real trouble.
Third, we must get deadly serious about weaning ourselves from imported oil, either by using our own oil share, renewables, etc.
Fourth, we must get control of our borders. This means, I think, if necessary militarizing the southern borders and putting employers in prison for hiring illegals.
Sadly, no one, and I do mean no one, has the kind of courage it would take to implement and sustain these kind of sea changes, least of all the American electorate.
So, we will have the kind of nation we deserve: a washed-up, debt-ridden has been.
And we have done it to ourselves by everyone wanting to get theirs, no matter the cost.
The system seems broken because nothing seems to be getting done. The reason the Dems are going to lose the house and the senate isn't because Americans don't want to reform healthcare, it's because even with a super majority the Dems can't pass a bill to solve the issue. The healthcare summit is just more dancing around by both parties with nothing getting done in the end. I wish politicians started putting the American people first rather than their own political parties and ability to get re-elected.
I am a middle class worker with a family and I do not believe that there is one person in the senate who cares about any of us. My wife is a social worker and she does more work in a day to help than all of the senators do combined. As far as the super court is concerned they gave business just another way to screw the middle class. With the exception of Bill Gates and T.boone Pickens can anyone else name a really rich person who cares about the middle class? A great comedian once said and I quote " The rich are rich to show the middle what there lives could be like and the poor are there to scare the hell out of the middle class". I think we as citizens should have more than two parties to vote for because then you could really see how diverse this country really is .I hope that one day the dem's and the rep's will see the need for additional parries as to reflect this diversity; I believe these would solve the problem of gridlock on the hill as a matter of fact I think it would create more synergy and open the doors for more progressive thinking than that of the status cue.
People say we need to get these politicians out of office. What for?
You're just going to vote the same bunch in office that you voted out in the last election! And yet the American people cant figure out what the solution is! You vote like it was a game! You want YOUR team to win regardless of what they stand for! The same TWO parties have been (at one time or another) a majority in the houses for many many years. Seen any taxes repealed? Any service charges or fees repealed? Any raises turned down by congress or the senate? you know, those fine people who work 100 DAYS per year! You people are so stupid or brainwashed! You vote the same two parties in EVERY time...and yet you you cant figure out the problem? Go ahead and keep voting for you "team"! See what changes!!! Sooner or later the "game" wont be very funny to you anymore! These two parties will tell you anything, and you're so stupid, you fall for it!
You deserve what you're getting! Want to blame someone? Look in the mirror! They didnt get in by accident, YOU voted them in!
People say a third or fourth party candidate cant run the country! Got any proof of that? No? Why not? Because YOU wont give them a chance! Seen any third party candidate at ANY of the debates the last time? I wonder why! Maybe because the two "holier than thou" parties dont want them there! Thats ok though....keep voting for your "team".....idiots!
The middle class are truly indentured servents to the poor and the rich. God help this country if the middle class ceases to exist since the rich and the poor will have to fight it out since neither are willing to give anything up unlike the middle class who give everything.
The answer to the Broken Government , middle class fed up is simple. We need to get rid of lobbyist who take the person you elected and buy them off. If you thought you threw out the last person, and new one will be better, try again. The day after they win the election the lobbyist are already buying them off. Who are the lobbyist they are the corporations that run this country. I do not care what party you are this is the reality of the matter, however at this point the republicans hold the edge of being bought off. Just look at the money big Pharma, insurance companies, and medical equipment manufactures have spent. These lobbyist have spent so much money they could have paid for reform for years. Just look at Joe Lieberman the independent who has been totally bought off. It is amazing that his state is the home to some of the biggest insurance companies in the country. He backs reform he is out of job next election. New person comes in is already bought off. Until we as Americans stand up and say the lobbyist are totally gone you get what we have now NOTHING BUT BROKEN GOVERNMENT.
Ok, since what I posted earlier was removed, in a nutshell, we are fed up. I am also fed up with web sites inviting comments then deleting them. If you don't like what I wrote I was being really nice and not writing anything offensive. Guess since I'm not a republican or a democrat I'm not allowed to post.
To me it's simple: yes, the middle class is struggling. I myself have been victim of losing a job, only to find a new one several months later paying a fraction of what my old job was.
But we have a choice. Everyday we live and breathe, we have choices. If the corporation is what bothers you, scrutinize the goods you buy and discriminate. Buy unique crafts and gifts from mostly American artisans at Etsy.com. Borrow tools from neighbors. Make your own soap. Buy used...well, everything. Better to buy a gentle used TV from an American in need of a little cash, than at Best Buy. Freecycle!
There are people in the world that have no access to clean water or shoes for their feet, yet we drive 4 blocks to go to the grocery store, and complain about the price of gas. Buy from local farms, and in season. Make your own clothes. Barter with your doctor. Invest in an HSA.
There are people in the world that have little access to doctors, good nutrition or decent shelter – and yet many are happier than most in this country that constantly worry about paying 'da man' for cheaply made, disposable goods – that we used, and tossed, but still owe on our credit cards.
Oh, and vote these yellow, pampared lawyers out of office!
The so-called middle class in general is being victimised by the increasing proportion of their monetary resources which must be spent just to survive. The class divide between those better off and the middle class appears to be widening, and much of the class which is at the lower end of the economic spectrum is in dire straits and its ranks are being swelled by people who have fallen off the middle class ladder. Increasingly, government, especially Congress, seems to represent the Wall St./Financial/special interests cabal rather than "We the people." Even President Obama, who was voted for by many because he appeared to be a populist, surrendered quite a lot of money and mortgaged the country even more to foreign interests by his appointments of the very people who caused the economic crisis and by bailing out Wall St.. The entire situation is made worse by the general populace's and much of the news media's willingness to surrender to the propaganda generated by those elements in power.
Yes, the government is broken. It was broken long before I was born, and I'm 53 now. Corporation and banks own our government and every function, at every level. Notice the banks and corporations get help but the people paying the taxes don't? If you mare greedy and support the politicians, or you are living off the goodwill of others (is there really a difference!?), you get plenty of assistance. Look at where our tax dollars go – we get taxed to death and we receive NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER for those taxes. They go to support everyone but us – the middle class. Now, I have lots of suggestions about how to fix this mess, but they all run afoul of something called the "Smith Act", for breach of which I can get banned from posting.
I do not agree with the recent actions of a pilot who flew his plane into an IRS building, but I understand how he feels. Our government does not fear us, and it should. Every politician, everyone who works for this particular government should quake in fear every moment they are alive because they are all traitors to America – they work for slavers who enslave themselves and us, and they follow orders blindly. We need to wake these people up. Not kill them or beat them, wake them up! Under no circumstances should we have politicians at all. Public servants. Not politicians. We should have low and middle class citizens holding every job in Washington, not the current situation where rich people with no possible grasp of reality run everything.
How many of those politicians in Washington do you think look at their paycheck and think "man, after I pay rent, I'm broke!"? How many do you think have to choose between car insurance and food? How many worry about being able to pay day care for their child? How many of the lawmakers in Washington have to risk being fired because they have to take off to take their child to the doctor (FMLA!? Yeah, right, try that BS in a right-to-work state...you WILL be fired, and there is NO legal recourse at all) or attend a parent/teacher meeting?
The people who rule your lives have no regard for you whatsoever. Vote? The powers that be select several candidate that they want to win. We vote on one. It doesn't matter who wins – THEY win no matter who we vote for. We just select another puppet. We need to take Washington's power away, and only fear will do that. The question becomes, how do we make them fear us, without becoming like them?
I am a strong believer of bi-partisanship. But has I watch day after day the constant battles between the two parties, I've come to the conclusion that no matter what the democrats offer, the other side is going to disagree and turn it down. It's not about the American people anymore. It's a power struggle and WE, the American people are caught in the middle. The republicans have decided that they will not agree on anything Obama offered, no matter what it is. Therefore, unfortunately, in order to move things along, the Democrats are going to have to just do what they have to do, with or without the other side. I'm neither Demo nor Republican, I'm independent. But something has to be done. So, Instead of Pres. Obama trying to make everyone happy, He's just going to have to go with his party. I know partisanship is not the way to go, but the republicans have made it known and have been sending a strong message, that they are not going to be Bi-partisan. They are not even trying to compromise, it's just NO NO NO all the way.
I own a small 70 yr old business, I'm thierd generation. I have not seen any kind of support from our state or goverment that will keep us afloat. they say, there is money if you are hiring or buy new equipment. This to me sounds like a company that is growing... What the "H" are they thinking! I'm not doing either of those options. Does anybody out there understand where I,m coming from. If I want to see how the economy is doing, all I have to do is look out my window. In my town of west springfield, there are over 50 small businesses that in the last year have closed their doors. You know, if I didn't care so much for my employees, i would close shop, collect unemployment and get a free ride on Mass health. I,m sick of our goverment...
I don't understand how people see the middle class as doing very well. Our food costs, cable bills, utility bills, doctor bills, insurance costs of all kinds, educational expenses, water bills, garbage collection bills, telephone bills, credit card interest levels, sales taxes, etc, etc, etc, all keep being raised (for no apparent reason other than "just because they can" in most cases.)
In this time and situation, we do not get any raises, any bonuses, any additional overtime possibilities, much of anything else at work. I guess you are supposed to be overjoyed just to have a job. (Sometimes you can get a quarter and hour more, whether you need it not as they say, if you are lucky.) And now our home values and some small investments are shot. I have said, for at least a decade, that this is NOT going to work. We cannot be squeezed any more. It just results in barely making ends meet, not being able to save much of anything, and just waiting for the hammer to fall when a serious injury or health issue drives one to bankruptcy court. What a great life in the middle class "American Dream." These problems are not just due to us spending more than we should. There are a lot of other serious inherent issues than that. And if inflation is just around the corner, look out!!
The government is not broken per say. The people are broken. There are those on here that comment about the "American Dream" and having to use debt to get there. What nonsense. The "American Dream" wasn't some pie in the sky idea of a wife, house, 2.5 kids and 2 cars in an attached garage. The "American Dream" as it were was the idea that ANYONE from ANYWHERE could come to AMERICA and had the FREEDOM and POTENTIAL to work and trade and get out what they put in. In other words, that whole religious "reap what you sow" concept.
Too many for far too long in our society have determined that just because Joe Blow living 2 doors down makes plenty of money and can afford to take a loss, should be responsible for taking care of their LAZY, INEPT, or IGNORANT neighbors that have shamefully failed to provide for themselves or their family. They've also determined that the Government which WE THE PEOPLE have relegated the monopoly of the use of force to should be FORCING said Joe Blow to provide for his neighbors.
What we have here folks is a few thousands steps in the wrong direction towards all out socialism and it isn't the "Government's" fault. The government is just a representative entity. A representative of "WE THE PEOPLE".
Government is made up of people that we expect to represent us. If they can not do that, than maybe we the people need to start the overhaul ourselves.
it would be nice to getaway without doing anything but complaining. im up to my eyeballs with congress and its continous posturing for control of congress instead of doing the peoples work The gop had it for the better p art of 6 years and what did that get us. the dems ha ve it now and they cant get over tripping over eachothers feet. AS FOR THE president I did not vote for him to be so concilitory to the gop i put him in because he had control and in my view in not doing to much with it really. Lastly, how is that when i place a bet and lose i have to pay but big corporation who are sticking it to me every day and lose their bet thencongress uses my tax dollars to bail them out. then wonders why the middle class are pissed off. talk about detached from reality.
it's enough to make a guy fly an airplane into an IRS office.
that's pretty broken.
Dr. RatstaR is 100% correct!
I paid my credit cards off about six years ago and cut them up, and you couldn't pay me to take another one. I paid off my auto five years ago and plan to drive it until the doors fall off-hopefully by then, I'll have saved a few thousand to get and put down 100% of the sticker price on a quality used car.
Other than buying a house and helping my kid through college, I'm not trying to borrow any more money from these crooks. You'd get a better deal and fairer terms from Tony Soprano. Honestly, the house is something of a "pipe dream," our household income won't get us anything in any neighborhood I'd want to live in- call me snooty if you want to but gang-bangers on the corner and crack-zombies in the alley do nothing for me. Better to rent in even an "OK" area than pay a mortgage in a war zone, on a house you're NOT gonna be able to sell! And if my son chooses a high-paying trade over a college education, I'm fine with that. My political science degree was worthless when I got it back in '86, and very little has changed.
Face it folks: if you have to borrow money to live a "middle-class lifestyle," then you're living in an illusion. Time to wake up now...!
Term limits are the answer, when you have a certain amount of time to get things done your going to work harder on these issuse rather than on relection. But this will never happen because they make all the rules them selves.
Paul..... Hooray!!!!!!!!! You hit it on the head. You defined the problem, now we need to get the spineless media to pick up the theme and run with it. No matter what you or I write as comments, unless CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks and print media listen and follow up ... like a rear wheel drive car in a blizzard... we're just spinning our wheels.
There is nothing broken about government and the middle class is not doomed. Our consumer culture has convinced the middle class, working class and lower class that too many things are "necessities" – the updated car, the net, cell phones with all the trimmings, the too-large house, the five-dollar lattes, and all the fatty food that is destroying health, making people miserable and straining the health care system. The Japanese "middle class" have the same or fewer overall resources than our working classes. The Indian "middle" class is middle class if they have a refrigerator in their house. We are doing fine. Our country has simply become a bunch of fat, griping, overprivileged whiners. Most people are clueless about what it takes to govern 300 million people in a democracy full of interest groups. Our congressmen work very hard and compromise is the absolute necessity of the system. It is the same as I say when people complain about teachers – spend a year doing the job and then talk.
Having changed my registered status to Independent from first Republican, then to Democrat I have realized just exactly what is wrong with the American Political machine. It is the fact that we use a party system. It should be abolished and instead of voting for a party who has THEIR party's interest at the forefront, how about voting in a person who has the American citizen's needs in mind. Think about it! Imagine it! What a great Idea!
Republicans give our money to big business who take our jobs to China.
Democrats take our money and give it to people who do not work and abuse the system, (Yes I know, not all of them do it). Let face it, if you can afford an x-box or a cell phone, then you can afford to buy your own food.
The parties care more about beating the other guy and lining their own pockets than they do about those of us who voted for them.
We need term limits!
In my opinion, the middle class has been eliminated. It is the rich and the poor. Our country is not ours any longer, it is unidentifiable and not the super power nor the land of the free. As a baby boomer, I am living off my children and should be homeless and I am ashamed to be an American. I get disability which does not allow me to get my own apartment, I cannot afford good medical care, not enough money for food and I can't find a part time job so I can be on my own. What is a person to do? The middle class is gone and it happened so suttlely and slowly that people didn't see it coming, so are our freedoms. We better do something and fast before we become fall under a dictatorship and we lose what our families fought for. Middle class? RIP
So... all of you screaming about the govement and how it is broken.
why not fix it... take out the trash. Even tho the same ppl get elected and ppl complane dont vote for them. Because you hate them but you vote for them again, and again, and again. so why? because you are scared of what is to come? One reason why they get in is because no one lissens to everyones side. they are republican or democrat... they do what they want and lie threw their teeth to get in and you see it and still put them in because you think they will change. When u know they wont. so do the United states a favor dont vote for the ppl in office chose a new person and maybe think about people who are not republican or democrats. vote for the ppl who are not rich because when they are done they will be just like you. they know more then the rich because they had to fight for their money.
The only problem in reality is "Greed". Until greed becomes unfashionable the problem will only get worse. The so called leaders of the financial world brought about this situation through greed,, and we all played along when there was something in it for us. Now the buck stops at the top and the greed continues to the point where it is treasonous. The financial institutions continue to erode the very foundation of America, and yet, no charges are filed. What they are doing is plain and simple "treason"
1) Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
2) A betrayal of trust or confidence.
Gov. is too big, it is sucking the life out of the economy every thing we do, everywhere we go, gov. is involved and really just acts like this big operating system in the back ground that you dont see running your computer and it has a virus or two, that slows you down.
times are also hard when two family members are disabled, trying to raise a 16 year old child, with no steady income, except what little we get from soc, disiabilty. im aloud to work but finding employment is bad i can"t make it on mcdonalds income, i have been unemployed now for 1- year and im willing to do almost anything to please my family and someone who is willing to employ me, im willing to travel im a house painter by trade 27yrs when will i see the light at the end of the tunnel?
How about some fairness? I bet you have heard that one alot. But common sense should tell you that when 50% of the population pays and 50% pays almost nothing that is not fair. Unless EVERYONE pays something toward the costs of maintaining our society and government, those that pay almost nothing do not care how much it costs.
Signed an independent minority voter.
The Great Risk Shift is a book that everyone should read, if you want to know where and how things went wrong.
At age 25, in 1977 I bought a 3 bdrm house in San Diego, up the hill from Mission Bay, for $49,000. I paid $430 a month, which included insurance and property taxes.
I never took out a Home Equity Line of Credit. I drove old cars. I worked when work was available, and laid low when it wasn't. I enjoyed the simple things in life, and lived well and happy. I had one child, and spent many hours with her when she was growing up.
In 2003 I told my neighbor I was going to sell. Thirty minutes later, we had a deal for $325,000, no realtor, no banks, no looky-loos. I left San Diego 30 days later.
I came to Oregon and bought 5 acres and a beautiful 2,000 sq ft custom built house for $210,000. I paid cash for it, with money left over.
Today my credit score is bad because I don't owe anything on credit. My debit card comes right out of my bank account. I am semi-retired at 57.
Credit is a trap. Throw away your credit cards. Credit has destroyed my country.
Dr RatstaR, Viet Nam Era Veteran, 1972 – 1976
Overpopulation is driving many of our problems today. We have gone beyond critical mass.
Supply and demand are the reason everything is going up.
I suggest the tax codes be modified so that one is given a tax break on the first two children, and taxed heavily on subsequent offspring. The extra monies would be used to pay for education.
Tax religious property. They are not non-profits. They are religions.
OK People – keep railing against big business. If not for individuals taking risks in business, there would be no jobs – unless of course, you want to be a "government worker" (government and work is almost an oxymoron). Most of these firms are run by people that have enough money that they could "quit" running companies and what would you do for jobs then? Where would the governments "ta base" come from? I agree that they have abused the capitalistic system, but let's put it in check – not destroy it. Get off your welfare seeking, free loading asses and do something to stimulate the economy – and that doesn't mean taking from the Haves and giving to the Have Nots. Most Have Nots, have not because they don't value education, hard work, saving and decent morals. Not all, but a large part of them have been "groomed" to expect the governmnet to care for them – cradle to grave". Wake up America – you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Self government requires that you be accountable for your actions. Time to step up t the plate.
Sure the government is broken-how could it not be, given it's a reflection of the governed? The people are broke and broken-polarized to an extent I've never seen-not un-resultantly our representatives are broken too; how amazing. So now what? We haven't even really gotten a handle yet on just what the issue is that divides us so. "Fiscal responsibility"? Don't think so. Religion? Maybe, at the bottom. Racism? Don't wanna go there. Education vs. whatever the opposite is? Hmm.
We tax the rich until the rich stop hiring. We tax the middle class until the middle class stop buying. All to finance a whole bunch of entitlement programs for the least productive of our society. Until people wake up and realize the simple truth, I see no way out.
Although I am totally against the health care reform bill and Obama, I was against the las 4 men In office, and I believe that middle class has paid for everything for the last 40 years, and its just escalating to its worse now...I no longer like any polititian, democratic or republican, and I agree with others that they need to clean house and senate out, and cut 1/3 of the people running it. We don't need so many people to get paid represent the American people if they aren't really representing anyone but themselves.
Conservatives, whether Republicans or Democrats believe in the trickle down theory. Until more middle class get downgraded economically the status quo will hold because conservative Republicans and Democrats still form the majority of this country.
It has become more obvious because of the financial crisis. The rich ones are not going to give up some of what they have. They want more or at least hold on what they use to get starting years before. Anything that the Administration or the liberals suggest to help
the poor or the less economically disadvantaged people will be labeled socialism, communism or maxism. Sadly, majority Americans don't understand that historically countries turned to communism, etc. when only the minority few poor become majority and definitely not the other way around. Arguments that more handouts and social programs will make the cirtizens lazy and become socialists, etc. Unfortunately change can only come when
the rich conservatives have a heart for their fellow citizens. So far it is just the opposite. The conservatives believe in small government so that they can control what they are prepared to give. Sadly, our problems such as Healthcare has today grown and still growing until no private sectors or citizens can help solved. It requires government intervention. It is called sacrificae and we must be prepared to accept
deficits at this time. Today we try to avoid the trillions but the day will come when the problem will require hundreds of trillions which can only come thru nationalization of assets. Just look at history of the world.
I think there is another road to take regarding Healthcare We really need to get rid of the high fructose corn syrup, GMO's, chemicals, antibiotics, and pesticides on our food and in our farm animals. If we can do away with these practices and humanely treat the animals and workers then we can be on the right track to monitoring our own health. We need to be eating whole foods without any additions, just clean good whole food.
We need to tell our Congressmen that this is the way it should be and they should not be in bed with Monsanto and big corporate farms.
If you like the insanity in congress vote for the incumbents.
As a ex middleclass american The light for me at the end of the tunnel is this...NOVEMBER IS COMING!
Think about? A guy running for office or one that has made a career as a "politician" gets money to run from "big pharma', big banks, big energy, and the list goes on. Do YOU really think they are thinking of US! Many businesses have downsized getting rid of employees yet CEO's still get rewarded. You know what I like to see is Pennsylvania drop their total of representatives in Harrisburg to equal the 67 counties. Wow that would be a big savings. Just like Congress in DC spend only two days a year in DC and the rest at home and using the internet to cast votes. Look at them on CSPAN. Big savings, HUH!. We'll never see it.. BOHICA.
I'm a single mom who has done everything by the book. I raised my children to be kind and honest ,telling them that whatever they put into life they would get back. Guess what? What I taught my children has harmed them! They went to college and work extremely hard. When my son tried to refinance to keep his small condo, he was told because he hadn't missed a payment they could not help him. They said if he missed a payment he'd get lower payments. My son said he is 29 and has worked hard to have a great credit score so he could buy a house, a car and raise a family. He refused to let his credit score be ruined. So where is the government going to put my son to live when his condo is taken away?
Do government and corporate abusers care where my son lives?
As traditional labor unions evaporate and the never-unionized middle class is left to fend for itself, there is one type of "union" that is making its members rich beyond the wildest dreams most Americans…the Boards of Directors. While we've been taught to think of these boards as collections of wise business leaders who supposedly help corporations make wise prudent decisions, the reality is an old-boys network of golfing buddies who serve on each others boards, vote for each others pay raises, and hire each other when someone needs a job. As the years go by, this new corporate nobility keeps earning higher and higher wages, usually at the expense of middle-level employees, managers and professionals who are usually the heart and soul of most companies. The Board of Directors Unions are making America's rich richer, and poor poorer not for the good of their businesses, but mainly to protect their lifestyle, no mater what it does to the rest of us. So the next time a friend says we need to break up the unions, tell him where we need to start … with the Boards of Directors Unions.
Half the problem with the middle class is that they're simply not working hard enough or if they are, they aren't working smart enough.
Stop blaming the rich or the poor, or the government and look at what you could've done.
Being middle class in this country is still EASY. It is still secure. You just have to follow 4 steps, the same four steps people have followed since the founding of this nation.
1- Get an education. And by education I mean marketable skills. There are a lot of marketable skills, but there are a lot of things considered an education which are not marketable skills. Becoming a skilled electrician or a mechanic or a plumber are marketable skills. As are of course majors in engineering or chemistry, nursing, etc. Getting an art history or sociology major is much less so.
2- Get a job. Not that hard if you've done step (1). And get a job that pays well in good times.
3- Live well within your means. That is live, well within your means. Not live well, within your means. Spend 60%, save 40%. Not spend 98%, save 2%. Or more. You can cut out that big screen TV, those extra drinks at the bar. Delay the baby. Buy old cars. Cook your own food. Go shopping less. Work more.
4- Pay off debt, accrue dividend / interest paying assets. Be middle class / upper middle class for life. Start by paying of all of your credit cards (you shouldn't ever have credit card debt to begin with). Then build up assets. How people choose to build up assets varies, the mainstay is buying a house. A paid off house means you don't have to pay rent (just taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance). CDs or strong stocks with dividends pay out stable income, and you can worry less about whether or not their value will decrease.
You have a congress and senate that takes care of two ends of the spectrum, upper class corporations and lower class, one for campaign money and the other by promises for votes. The middle class gets bent over in the center.
Our government has been twisted for quite some time. Partisanship has built a wall that is unreal and this present administration's policies, lack of transparency and crooked dealings are causing a major hatred toward the Democrats. The Republicans sure haven't helped thier cause over the last number of years, either. I am one of those people who has been middle-class, but hit a layoff one year ago with no solid job possibilities in sight. We are suffering in this country because of the irresponsibility of our bankers and politicians from both sides of the aisle. This started with the credit "give-away" signed into action by Bill Clinton and allowed to snowball through every administration. The last thing we need is more irresponsibility which is being pushed by this administration. Perhaps the people of this country should get together and try to push a major class-action lawsuit against the politicians and bankers that refused to use common sense and allowed greed to control thier dealings.
i know how to fix the government. cap the salaries to all senators, and anybody else voted into their positions, to the average middle class income. only the people who believe in what they are doing will run for an election. take the mass amounts of money and kick backs out the greedy wont want the job. if they cheat, throw them in jail. make it law. i am sick of the greed, it fuels every decision and don't believe anyone's word anymore.
Well folks if our elected president was busy working on jobs instead of healthcare which is not the most crtical issue right now we might have a few more of them. All that money piss.ed down the drain and no private sector jobs period. Government does not create the jobs the private sector does and until this administration is clear that they want to help the small business owner and then do so we are in for a very long period of high unemployment.
I'm moving to Costa Rica. I'm so sick of this country stupidity. They make everything worse. The goverment is out of control and no one does anything about it. I'm going to country far better and less rules. Tired of being treated like a small child. I think this country is on the verge of either civil war and collapse. See ya later.
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