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(Huffington Post)   American middle class now ranked 27th in the world. Even our middle class isn't middle class anymore   (huffingtonpost.com ) divider line
    More: Fail, American middle class, Americans, wealth distribution, International Labour Organization, shareholder value  
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2746 clicks; posted to Business » on 26 Jul 2013 at 8:33 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-26 08:47:48 AM  
Poor people problems.
 
2013-07-26 08:56:33 AM  
27 down from 180.  That'd be a B.
 
2013-07-26 08:57:16 AM  
Our "middle class" hasn't been "middle class" for 40 years or so. Most people who consider themselves "middle class" are actually poor as hell.

The wealth/income disparity in this country has been growing a pretty god clip for some time now.
 
2013-07-26 08:58:41 AM  
That ranking makes Australia look pretty nice.
 
2013-07-26 09:02:05 AM  

Big_Fat_Liar: 27 down from 180.  That'd be a B.


Things like this are useful for smacking people who say dumb things like "The U.S. is the best country in the world!" though because they reinforce the fact that, anymore, there isn't really any single "best country" by anything close to a completely objective measure.

We're basically the best country in the world if your two biggest concerns are having the expendable income to buy the new Kanye West album and having the freedom to fire wild, celebratory gunfire in the air once you do (without the maniacal oppression that usually comes along with other countries where this is considered normal).

Other than that? Eh.... there's lots of other places I'd be perfectly happy to live that come with their own special problems and benefits. There's really no single "best" place. Sure, I may not be able to attend as many circuses if I moved to a western European country, but I think I'd get over it as I lounged on my six weeks of paid vacation while not stressing about whether a catastrophic medical event will ruin me financially or not.

Give and take.
 
2013-07-26 09:08:20 AM  
What's the income ranges for low, middle and upper class nowadays?
 
2013-07-26 09:08:35 AM  
I have my serious doubts about that chart. How exactly is it calculated? There is no way the middle class is that wealthy in places like Italy where the entire economy is in the midst of a free fall. Also, UK/Britain listed twice. I don't expect the US to be doing great, but that data seems suspect at best.
 
2013-07-26 09:10:32 AM  

skozlaw: We're basically the best country in the world if your two biggest concerns are having the expendable income to buy the new Kanye West album and having the freedom to fire wild, celebratory gunfire in the air once you do (without the maniacal oppression that usually comes along with other countries where this is considered normal).


But really, what else could we ask for?
 
2013-07-26 09:12:24 AM  
I know people like to kvetch about 'Newsroom', but this is worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA (NSFW language)
 
2013-07-26 09:16:07 AM  

Lost Thought 00: How exactly is it calculated?


Go look it up, it's available via a Google search. It's something Credit Suisse puts together so it's not like it's some random group that doesn't have any idea how global economies and wealth work.
 
2013-07-26 09:16:07 AM  
Obviously this calls for tax cuts for the rich.
 
2013-07-26 09:18:49 AM  

skozlaw: Lost Thought 00: How exactly is it calculated?

Go look it up, it's available via a Google search. It's something Credit Suisse puts together so it's not like it's some random group that doesn't have any idea how global economies and wealth work.


It's behind a pay wall, and the linked labor report doesn't explain the methodology for the numbers either. Sounds very much like someone doesn't want their methodology known.
 
2013-07-26 09:20:36 AM  
What is the definition of 'wealth' used for that survey? If it is just net assets that doesn't necessarily mean low living. Someone making $250K a year and blowing through it just as fast may have $10,000 of 'wealth' but actually be living quite well. Maybe it's just that people in those other countries save some money rather than buy McMansion's, multiple cars, and then rack up the debt.

Not saying that the middle class isn't getting railed on but making a case the US middle class is 27th based on a single measure that isn't even good or clearly defined in the article is retarded.
 
2013-07-26 09:25:08 AM  

born_yesterday: But really, what else could we ask for?


Mmmm.....

Better albums?

Lost Thought 00: It's behind a pay wall


The second link provides it. It's huge though.
 
2013-07-26 09:25:55 AM  

Lost Thought 00: Also, UK/Britain listed twice.



The UK and Great Britain are two different things so having two entries is technically correct.

/Looks like Northern Ireland drags the rest of the country down
 
2013-07-26 09:28:02 AM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-07-26 09:34:56 AM  
 those that might be interested
income distribution curve

http://www.lcurve.org/
 
2013-07-26 09:37:44 AM  

Norfolking Chance: Lost Thought 00: Also, UK/Britain listed twice.


The UK and Great Britain are two different things so having two entries is technically correct.

/Looks like Northern Ireland drags the rest of the country down


Although counting both as countries that the US is behind doesn't make much sense, so they are actually 26th. Also it seems odd to put both in there when they are so close, if it made a huge difference I could see tracking them separately (although then why not put in California, or Wallonia, or whatever).
 
2013-07-26 09:39:04 AM  
It never really was, since most people who identify as middle class really are not middle class.
It's magical, aspirational thinking.
Most of us are working class as measured by income, even if we have degrees.
 
2013-07-26 09:45:19 AM  

Lexx: That ranking makes Australia look pretty nice.


Outside of the housing insanity.  Half the US lives in nowheresvilles where you can find housing starting under $100k (Greater Omahas and Daytons of the world... heck, even major cities like Houston).  Even in really rural, non-mineral-boom Australia, shacks start at $200k+.  The major cities (and Australia is substantially more concentrated in those cities than Americans are) are utterly bonkers.
 
2013-07-26 09:49:04 AM  
i remember a certain dentist on this forum a while back claiming that $500k pa was "upper middle class." LOL.
 
2013-07-26 09:55:23 AM  
That chart looks dodgy as hell.

1) Does it control for purchasing power? -Australia has an incredibly powerful currency as a result of all their mining exports

2) You can earn 3 extra dollars by moving from the UK to Great Britain?

3) The spread looks WAY too big
 
2013-07-26 09:56:23 AM  

Tigger: You can earn 3 extra dollars by moving from the UK to Great Britain?


um... the uk IS great britain.
 
2013-07-26 09:57:22 AM  

FlashHarry: i remember a certain dentist on this forum a while back claiming that $500k pa was "upper middle class." LOL.


Do note, that this is  wealth, not income (though anybody who says $500k/y is "upper middle" is still an idiot). Many people have far less wealth than their annual income, and this rises from the fact that our society has turned away from serious attempts at saving. Debt is such a huge driver of our economy that middle-class people who actually save money are a threat to the current social order.
 
2013-07-26 09:59:22 AM  
FTA:  Allowing private equity firm to buy companies, load them up with debt, extract enormous returns, and then kiss them good-by.


i45.tinypic.com
 
2013-07-26 10:00:32 AM  

t3knomanser: Do note, that this is  wealth, not income (though anybody who says $500k/y is "upper middle" is still an idiot). Many people have far less wealth than their annual income, and this rises from the fact that our society has turned away from serious attempts at saving. Debt is such a huge driver of our economy that middle-class people who actually save money are a threat to the current social order.


totally agree. one of the good things about the crash was that people started saving more.
 
2013-07-26 10:03:56 AM  

FlashHarry: one of the good things about the crash was that people started saving more


One of the other good things is that all sorts of investments went on sale! I bought in heavily after the crash, and have made decent returns as a result.
 
2013-07-26 10:05:19 AM  
All this says is that in the US, we don't save any money and we tend to spend more than we make.
 
2013-07-26 10:07:00 AM  

meanmutton: All this says is that in the US, we don't save any money and we tend to spend more than we make.


So... maybe there's as much of an issue with our culture as our laws?
 
2013-07-26 10:10:45 AM  

Lexx: That ranking makes Australia look pretty nice.


As long as they are shipping people to internment camps in Papua New Guinea, Australia doesn't get to call themselves "nice".
 
2013-07-26 10:14:06 AM  
Don't worry, the rich assure us we're all rich because starving third worlders exist.
 
2013-07-26 10:24:06 AM  
i have a refrigerator
 
2013-07-26 10:26:04 AM  

Tigger: 2) You can earn 3 extra dollars by moving from the UK to Great Britain?


Great Britian is England, Scotland and Wales. The UK is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Housing costs in Northern Ireland are lower so the same wage in Belfast will buy you more than in the rest of the UK
 
2013-07-26 10:26:27 AM  

Lt_Ryan: What is the definition of 'wealth' used for that survey? If it is just net assets that doesn't necessarily mean low living. Someone making $250K a year and blowing through it just as fast may have $10,000 of 'wealth' but actually be living quite well. Maybe it's just that people in those other countries save some money rather than buy McMansion's, multiple cars, and then rack up the debt.

Not saying that the middle class isn't getting railed on but making a case the US middle class is 27th based on a single measure that isn't even good or clearly defined in the article is retarded.


Yeah, measures of wealth typically only look at cash and home equity.  Americans buy a lot of shiat (and tend to upgrade their houses more often so they have less home equity).  In 2011, the US's consumption as a percentage of GDP was 72%, higher than every other country on that list and 33% higher than Australia's at 54%

Australia also hasn't had a housing crash like the US had.  In 2010, home equity accounted for 41% of Australia's total wealth, compared to about 25% for the US.

If the study had controlled for these factors, it'd have a lot more weight, but not controlling for
 
2013-07-26 10:29:17 AM  

t3knomanser: FlashHarry: one of the good things about the crash was that people started saving more

One of the other good things is that all sorts of investments went on sale! I bought in heavily after the crash, and have made decent returns as a result.


so did i. i thought people were crazy to cash out their 401k's when he DOW was at 6,000.
 
2013-07-26 10:30:08 AM  
It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....

Get organized people.

t1.gstatic.com
 
2013-07-26 10:31:59 AM  

FlashHarry: so did i. i thought people were crazy to cash out their 401k's when he DOW was at 6,000.


It's instinct.

I recently opened a new set of investment accounts to better diversify. For a few months after I opened them, they cratered. We lost thousands of dollars. So I did the only rational thing: I poured more money into those accounts. Now they've bounced back and I've started making some income.
 
2013-07-26 10:36:13 AM  

FarkedOver: It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....


They are not related.
 
2013-07-26 10:38:23 AM  

Saiga410: FarkedOver: It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....

They are not related.


Sure. Just pure coincidence.
 
2013-07-26 10:49:47 AM  

FarkedOver: Saiga410: FarkedOver: It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....

They are not related.

Sure. Just pure coincidence.


Furthermore, I'm not saying it's the only reason, but it is a major reason why we have a crumbling middle class.

 thinkprogress.org
 
2013-07-26 10:54:59 AM  

FarkedOver: FarkedOver: Saiga410: FarkedOver: It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....

They are not related.

Sure. Just pure coincidence.

Furthermore, I'm not saying it's the only reason, but it is a major reason why we have a crumbling middle class.

 [thinkprogress.org image 460x329]


I agree with the graph, but I'm going to have to agree with Friedman on this one and when there's a comparative advantage for companies to produce the same good at similar quality for a lower cost by having the labor done in another country, companies are going to do that. The unions priced themselves out of jobs and weren't helped by globalization.

Most of my family worked for Ford in the previous 2 generations and even they, while enjoying it mightily, found it laughable that they were being paid ~$28/hr + pension/stock option/benefits to literally turn a wrench on a line. Those high costs basically made it smarter for the company to either produce overseas or go to automation asap. Therefore the wages/legacy costs priced a majority of the workers out of a job. Yeah, there's other factors which contributed, but I wouldn't say that unions are the answer to all of our ills because they just can't exist well in this global market for manufacturing when other countries are able to do the same thing for 1/10 of the cost or less.
 
2013-07-26 11:00:57 AM  

MichiganFTL: I agree with the graph, but I'm going to have to agree with Friedman on this one and when there's a comparative advantage for companies to produce the same good at similar quality for a lower cost by having the labor done in another country, companies are going to do that. The unions priced themselves out of jobs and weren't helped by globalization.

Most of my family worked for Ford in the previous 2 generations and even they, while enjoying it mightily, found it laughable that they were being paid ~$28/hr + pension/stock option/benefits to literally turn a wrench on a line. Those high costs basically made it smarter for the company to either produce overseas or go to automation asap. Therefore the wages/legacy costs priced a majority of the workers out of a job. Yeah, there's other factors which contributed, but I wouldn't say that unions are the answer to all of our ills because they just can't exist well in this global market for manufacturing when other countries are able to do the same thing for 1/10 of the cost or less.


This is the problem with globalization and capitalism in general.  Somewhere, someone is getting screwed over.  That is the gist of it.  This is the reason militant organization of workers is an international priority, not just an American one.  Every worker should be demanding a living wage in every corner of the globe.  No matter what country you're in; if you sell your labor in order to live you should be supporting others who are in the same boat, for we have so much more in common than we do with the owners of business.
 
2013-07-26 11:04:35 AM  

MichiganFTL: meanmutton: All this says is that in the US, we don't save any money and we tend to spend more than we make.

So... maybe there's as much of an issue with our culture as our laws?


partly, but for many people, either you buy on credit... or you don't buy at all.
 
2013-07-26 11:05:48 AM  

FarkedOver: MichiganFTL: I agree with the graph, but I'm going to have to agree with Friedman on this one and when there's a comparative advantage for companies to produce the same good at similar quality for a lower cost by having the labor done in another country, companies are going to do that. The unions priced themselves out of jobs and weren't helped by globalization.

Most of my family worked for Ford in the previous 2 generations and even they, while enjoying it mightily, found it laughable that they were being paid ~$28/hr + pension/stock option/benefits to literally turn a wrench on a line. Those high costs basically made it smarter for the company to either produce overseas or go to automation asap. Therefore the wages/legacy costs priced a majority of the workers out of a job. Yeah, there's other factors which contributed, but I wouldn't say that unions are the answer to all of our ills because they just can't exist well in this global market for manufacturing when other countries are able to do the same thing for 1/10 of the cost or less.

This is the problem with globalization and capitalism in general.  Somewhere, someone is getting screwed over.  That is the gist of it.  This is the reason militant organization of workers is an international priority, not just an American one.  Every worker should be demanding a living wage in every corner of the globe.  No matter what country you're in; if you sell your labor in order to live you should be supporting others who are in the same boat, for we have so much more in common than we do with the owners of business.


You'll get a lot of agreement around the world on that, but the .01% in power to make the decisions will never allow it globally. Unless it was specifically mandated in countries that they were not to import or do business with countries without equal labor/living wage laws, it'll never happen. And doing that in the U.S. in this economy would probably be crushing at the moment.We're accustomed to a standard of living, cheap electronics, clothes and other goods produced out of country that, if produced on a mass-scale in this country would increase in price. Then, even if all goods only rose 5-10% because of it, you'd still have a mass public outcry about the cost of everything going up, it'd almost be political suicide.

In the end, I'm still in favor of it because it needs to be done and there's no easy option.
 
2013-07-26 11:06:27 AM  

FarkedOver: FarkedOver: Saiga410: FarkedOver: It's as if the decline of unions and the disappearance of the middle class are some how related....

They are not related.

Sure. Just pure coincidence.

Furthermore, I'm not saying it's the only reason, but it is a major reason why we have a crumbling middle class.

 [thinkprogress.org image 460x329]


Any two fairly linear equations can look related if you adjust the scaling on each one enough.
 
2013-07-26 11:06:55 AM  

robbiex0r: MichiganFTL: meanmutton: All this says is that in the US, we don't save any money and we tend to spend more than we make.

So... maybe there's as much of an issue with our culture as our laws?

partly, but for many people, either you buy on credit... or you don't buy at all.


Another reason why I wish there was a lower cap on credit card APR's. 29.99% is crazy. You can't tell me that most of these companies wouldn't still be making crazy money if it was 9.99% capped. The endless cycle of debt is killing this country.
 
2013-07-26 11:10:05 AM  

HotIgneous Intruder: It never really was, since most people who identify as middle class really are not middle class.
It's magical, aspirational thinking.
Most of us are working class as measured by income, even if we have degrees.


It's the debt that makes people look like they are actually middle class... for a while.
 
2013-07-26 11:12:20 AM  

MichiganFTL: You'll get a lot of agreement around the world on that, but the .01% in power to make the decisions will never allow it globally. Unless it was specifically mandated in countries that they were not to import or do business with countries without equal labor/living wage laws, it'll never happen. And doing that in the U.S. in this economy would probably be crushing at the moment.We're accustomed to a standard of living, cheap electronics, clothes and other goods produced out of country that, if produced on a mass-scale in this country would increase in price. Then, even if all goods only rose 5-10% because of it, you'd still have a mass public outcry about the cost of everything going up, it'd almost be political suicide.

In the end, I'm still in favor of it because it needs to be done and there's no easy option.


Oh, I'm well aware it would be a biatch.  Revolutions rarely are easy.  But if people truly want freedom, if people truly want an egalitarian world, capitalism must be destroyed.

I'm not saying capitalism didn't serve a necessary function.  Most leftist thinkers would agree that capitalism is/was necessary for the advancement in a newly industrialized world.  But like all "good" things it too will end.

I know many people will say: "Well, capitalism is the best system we have come up with."  I ask you, what are the good things about capitalism? From an American stand point, sure it has been great.  But at the expense of others around the world.  I will say that capitalism is the best system thus far that we have conjured up for production.  It is the worst system we have created for the allocation of goods and products.
 
2013-07-26 11:13:05 AM  

turtle553: Any two fairly linear equations can look related if you adjust the scaling on each one enough.


So, you are saying the decline in Union membership had fark all to do with the decline in the middle class?
 
2013-07-26 11:14:29 AM  

FlashHarry: t3knomanser: Do note, that this is  wealth, not income (though anybody who says $500k/y is "upper middle" is still an idiot). Many people have far less wealth than their annual income, and this rises from the fact that our society has turned away from serious attempts at saving. Debt is such a huge driver of our economy that middle-class people who actually save money are a threat to the current social order.

totally agree. one of the good things about the crash was that people started saving more.


I read that as PEOPLE STARVED MORE.
You monster
 
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