"Middle class" means what?

Discussion in 'Money Talk$' started by billwald, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. billwald

    billwald
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    I was disappointed with the acceptance speech of the new AFL-CIO president. Why? His references to the sad plight of the MIDDLE class. Most of his union gains in the past few years were cooks, janitors, hotel workers . . . working class people. Americans are now ashamed to admit that they are working class?

    I think we were conned by our owners when they changed "working class" to "middle class." Instead of working class and poor people, it is now middle class and poor people. Was I the only working class person left in he US? (Haven't had to punch a clock since 1996. <G>)
     
  2. targus

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    Middle class, working class, first class, head of the class... it's a meaningless concept.

    Your life is your own.

    Don't pigeon hole yourself or others.

    Don't measure yourself against others.

    Life your life with character and integrity.
     
  3. billwald

    billwald
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    The concept of middle class is working well. It is used to convince the working poor that they don't need labor unions because labor unions only help the working class and the middle class people are on their way to being rich. Who is smoking what?
     
  4. targus

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    Your post is unintelligible.
     
  5. billwald

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    I'll deconstruct it for you Baptists:

    >The concept of middle class is working well.

    "Concept" means "idea."

    "Middle class" has become a statistical term used to indicate a "middle" economic class, the "middle" of the income curve.

    > It is used to convince the working poor . . .

    Working poor - people who live hand to mouth and who are not paid enough to save for save for the future emergencies, for their old age, or to pay for the commonly accepted standard of medical treatment.

    >that they don't need labor unions

    Our owners understand that their strength is in their unity but have historically done everything possible to prevent the working class from organizing to improve working family's standard of living.

    Prior to the electronic age, "working class" was also called "blue collar workers," people who did manual labor and ran the machines that made consumer goods. The working class now includes "white collar" workers who do "clean" work for minimum or close to minimum wage.

    >because labor unions only help the working class and the middle class people are on their way to being rich.

    Middle class people think they are socially superior to the traditional working class people and reject the "working class" label. Middle class people think they are smarter and harder working than the traditional blue collar workers and it infuriates the middle class when they hear of a mere worker who has better pay or benefits than they do.

    "Middle class" people can't understand that it takes a measure of intelligence for workers to co-operate with others for their mutual benefit.

    It is probably more a matter of socialization than a lack of intelligence. People who refuse to co-operate for mutual benefit are "hunter-gatherers" who reject the social/economic benefits of civilization and prefer to think of themselves as exemplifying the 'pioneer' and 'wild west' tradition.

    > Who is smoking what?

    A snide remark referring to "lotus eaters."
     
  6. targus

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    Now that you have broken it down - let's reconstruct it to see what it says.

    "It is used to convince the working poor that they don't need labor unions because labor unions only help the working class..."

    The problem is that you define the working class as "minimum or close to minimum wage". That sounds like your working poor to me.

    So by substitution you are then saying... It is used to convince the working poor that they don't need labor unions because labor unions only help the working poor.

    And again - your post is unintelligible.
     
  7. billwald

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    Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. Taking that as a starting place of "working poor," where would say that working poor ends and middle class for a family of 4 starts?
     
  8. targus

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    I am sorry, but I don't pigeonhole people into classes. That seems to be your thing.

    I believe that in America just about anyone can improve their station in life through education and hard work.

    What is the point that you are trying to make with this thread?
     
  9. billwald

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    My original point was that the new president of the AFL-CIO has forgotten that most of his members are not "middle class."

    The large "middle class" is a freak post WW2 phenomenon and we are regressing to the mean. The people who call themselves "middle class" have been losing buying power for 20 years.

    Before the Big War, half of all Americans were poor or working poor. Half lived on the farm. Half the people who came through Ellis Island became household servants.

    Before WW2, the middle class were doctors, lawyers, engineers and most had live in servants. How can a family that needs two working people to pay the bills call itself "middle class?" In the early 1950's the new middle class families could pay the bills with the husband working and the wife in charge of the house. People who's mother had to work outside the house were poor.
     
  10. targus

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    Expectations have changed.

    In the 1950's most middle class families had one car and lived in a 1,000 sq ft house.

    Now middle class families have two cars with a third or fourth for the kids and houses are more like 2,000 sq ft.

    Add to that personal computers, vacation homes at the lake, ski trips, Christmas at Disney World, video games, name brand clothes for elementary kids, plasma TVs, multiple cell phones, cable or dish TV, boats, RVs, snow blowers, a lawn service, dinners out, etc.

    Comparing the 1950's middle class to today is apples and oranges.
     
  11. billwald

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    Agree 100% if you substituted "working" for "middle." Thanks to increased productivity we can have twice as much stuff for the same number of work hours.

    Problem is that for the first 25 years after WW2 the working class got 80% of the value of the increased productivity. Since then the owners have gotten 80% and the worker's share has been shrinking in terms of buying power per work hour.

    My Old Man had to quit school in the 8th grade to help support his family. When I was growing up he was a lab tech at Bell Labs, no schooling but he made enough to pay the bills. We were probably low end middle class. A family that needs 2 working adults to pay the bills isn't middle class.
     
  12. targus

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    It is still a matter of expectations.

    What "bills" are the family with two working adults paying that weren't even a consideration previously only one working adult was needed?

    I already provided you with a list... add to it college for every kid whether he/she should actually go or not, haircuts which used to be done at home, elective cosmetic items such as hair coloring, manicures, botox, etc., gym memberships, etc.

    It now requires two working adults to pay the bills because the average family has added so much to those bills that did not used to be there.

    So if the cost of being middle class has gone up it is only because the meaning of middle class has gone up.

    Also, how many hours were worked previously to make the money to maintain a middle class status. No doubt it was more than 40 hours per week.

    Overtime is unusual now. 50 or 60 hours of work per week used to be the norm.

    If our lives are not better now than they were 50 years ago it is because our expectations have increased - creating more want for things not necessary to a fullfilling life.
     
  13. billwald

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    It's not a matter of lives being better. My complaint is the deck is stacked against the working people and the real assets and paper assets continue to flow from the working people to those who live off of interest payments from the working people. The tax laws are stacked against wage earners. It doesn't bother Warren Buffet to say that his secretary has a higher marginal tax rate than he does. And Buffet may not pay SS tax but I bet he is collecting SS and Medicare.
     
  14. targus

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    Perhaps we should tax the job producers until they think that it is no longer worth taking the risk of owning a company.

    Then we would have a level playing field.

    What do you say?
     
  15. billwald

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    Straw man - do you really think that a person with $100,000,000 net assets continues to work because he wants more money?
     
  16. billwald

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    And you think it is "fair" that a person with $50K in wages pays a higher marginal tax rate than a guy who cashes in $500,000 in long term capital gains for spending money?
     
  17. targus

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    I think that motivation is different for everyone.
     
  18. targus

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    I don't believe that is the case.

    I believe that capital gains are 15% and that the tax rate on 50K for a single person would be about 16% after the standard deduction and personal exemption.

    So in your example the marginal tax is close to the same for each.
     
  19. billwald

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    Only of the $50k person is married.


    Single Filing Status

    (Tax Rate Schedule X)
    10% on income between $0 and $8,350
    15% on the income between $8,350 and $33,950; plus $835
    25% on the income between $33,950 and $82,250; plus $4,675
    28% on the income between $82,250 and $171,550; plus $16,750
    33% on the income between $171,550 and $372,950; plus $41,754
    35% on the income over $372,950; plus $108,216

    Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er) Filing Status

    (Tax Rate Schedule Y-1)
    10% on the income between $0 and $16,700
    15% on the income between $16,700 and $67,900; plus $1,670
    25% on the income between $67,900 and $137,050; plus $9,350
    28% on the income between $137,050 and $208,850; plus $26,637.50
    33% on the income between $208,850 and $372,950; plus $46,741.50
    35% on the income over $372,950; plus $100,894.50

    Married Filing Separately Filing Status

    (Tax Rate Schedule Y-2)
    10% on the income between $0 and $8,350
    15% on the income between $8,350 and $33,950; plus $835
    25% on the income between $33,950 and $68,525; plus $4,675
    28% on the income between $68,525 and $104,425; plus $13,318.75
    33% on the income between $104,425 and $186,475; plus $23,370.75
    35% on the income over $186,475; plus $50,447.25

    Head of Household Filing Status

    (Tax Rate Schedule Z)
    10% on the income between $0 and $11,950
    15% on the income between $11,950 and $45,500; plus $1,195
    25% on the income between $45,500 and $117,450; plus $6,227.50
    28% on the income between $117,450 and $190,200; plus $24,215
    33% on the income between $190,200 and $372,950; plus $44,585
    35% on the income over $372,950; plus $104,892.50
     
  20. targus

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    And again I am left guessing at the point of this thread.

    How about picking a topic and staying with it?

    It would make the discussion so much more productive and interesting.
     

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