More on robbing the poor & the working class to pay the rich

Dean Baker lays it out.


  1. Hmm. Didn’t even have to get past the first paragraph. Sorry but it is not the worst recession since the Great Depression. We are nowhere even close to what went down during the Carter/Reagan era. —

    Unemployment at 12%
    Inflation at ~18%
    Mortgage rates at 21%
    Gas nowhere to be seen in some cases.

    Just sayin’.

  2. Well, John, if you were willing to read, you might learn something. The second paragraph, in particular, makes some pertinent points.

    As a young married man with hardly any money and a new baby, I bought my first house (a condemned derelict property without even a certificate of occupancy) with a variable rate mortgage with the original rate of 17.75 percent. The rate went to 21% before dropping down. The house cost $39,000.

    Three years later, after a LOT of hard work, I sold the property for $76,000.

    In my current house I’m underwater to the tune of about $100K, and have been only part-time employed since getting laid off 1.5 years ago. In my current job I’m making less, in real terms, than I was at the start of my career, despite being about 30 times better at doing what I do.

    No, go on, explain to me how I “don’t get it”.

  3. John,

    Its not a matter of you “don’t get it”, I have been there too, to the point of having to live at the YMCA for a period of time. But the fact is, this period in time, the economic statistics do not compare to the Great Depression.

    As to being laid off, I was given an early out by my last employer and was advised to take it. That was 18mos ago. My current employment tracks your current situation as well. So yes I “do get it” too right in the shorts.

    But I also got a different message as well. So long as you are being paid by the piper you will be singing their tune. We have started our own business to fill up the time I don’t have working at ‘the one who pays the bills’. We may reach break even by the end of the year.

    Many of the things that Harold writes also have impacts to how we as individuals will earn a living. The first 30 years of my career I worked for Fortune 10k’s and finally Fortune 10’s. But those days are rapidly coming to a close. Those Fortune 10k’s are becoming holding shells for accounting purposes. Majority of the work is being done more and more by contractors. We are becoming a cottage shop economy again.

    Just my view. Sorry if I upset you. It was not my intent.

  4. JohnMc,

    Thanks. I guess the point I was trying to make is that during the Reagan/Carter downturn there was still hope, and things did right themselves & middle class people did have a chance to get ahead. (Of course, I suppose it was hard to see that at the time. I had too much work to do and too many other worries, frankly, to worry about the larger economy.)

    I’m not saying this is the Great Depression or anything like it. But by many metrics — not all metrics, as you point out — by many metrics this is the worst goddamn economic fix we’ve been in as a nation since the 1930’s. And what’s really different since the way things were at the start of my professional life is that the game has been completely rejiggered in favor of the rich and connected.

    There’s a reason that the middle class is struggling so hard– it’s because it’s been under assault ever since Reagan. And there’s a reason that it’s been under assault, and that’s because a strong middle class is a check on the power and privilege of the wealthy, and they don’t like it.

    In any event, I wish you well in your enterprise, whatever it is.

Comments are closed