• Poor Folks

    February 24, 2019

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent, Economy, Post-Constitution America


     
    A guy on Facebook I don’t know wrote a version of what has become a kind of set-piece article in today’s America. Here’s a portion:

    Losing The War of Attrition or How To Turn Any Normal Person Into A Broken, Angry Radical

    You are one of the millions who are employed at minimum wage. Or you are one of the millions who are euphemistically called underemployed, or you are one of the millions with no job and no prospects. You are retired- how did that happen?- or disabled- why did that happen?- and trying to survive on Social Security.

    You reach a point when you realize that getting ahead is no longer possible. After that you reach a point when you realize that holding on to what you have is no longer possible. Then you reach a point when you realize that replacing what has been lost or depleted is no longer possible.

     

    I wrote a book about this five years ago called The Ghosts of Tom Joad. No one read it. Publishers in the process of turning me down mocked me for writing about “poor people” and seemed surprised there were poor people in America who weren’t black and living in ghettos. Well, hell, then Trump happened. Because people watching a way of life — a middle class existence where the rich have more but we had some — fall away are easy targets for demagogues. Always have been. Because before we dismissed things as whataboutism we used to study them as lessons from history. Other people’s’ mistakes. History shows very clearly this economic game we’re playing ends with everyone but a small handful at the top losing badly.

    I concluded five years ago the game was already decided. Our society was already then like those photos of railroad tracks, where in the distance it seems like the two rails come together in a single point. That point is essentially feudalism, where a tiny minority owns almost everything and everyone else lives off whatever scraps they let us have. Like in the Middle Ages, where everyone farmed for the king as serfs. It’s worse than slavery, because slaves at least know they’re slaves and have the possibility, however small, of freedom. Maybe for their kids if not for themselves.
     
    We are not at the singularity, but we are inexorably headed toward it. Five additional years of data has only made that clearer; five years ago we spoke of the 1%. That number no longer matters. The new figure is .1%, an even smaller group who owns even more.

    And no, none of this is new Because Trump. Since 1980, the incomes of the very rich (the .1%) have grown faster than the economy, for about a 400% cumulative increase in wealth. The upper middle class (the 9.9%) has kept pace with the economy, while the other 90% of us, the middle class and the poor have fallen behind.

    By the way, it is these numbers which sent Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign to both use $250,000 as the upper limit of the middle class. They sounded misguided, but it was sort of true. They just were still lumping what we’re calling here the “Upper Middle Class” and the “Middle Class” together. Just words. At present in the U.S. we have three-and-a-half classes: The .1%%, the 9.9%, everyone else hanging on, plus some people way at the bottom with basically nothing.

    But bad news for the 9.9% Since the they the most (the most the .1% does not yet have) they have the most to lose. At their peak, in the mid-1980s, people in this group held 35% of the nation’s wealth. Three decades later that had fallen 12%, exactly as much as the wealth of the 0.1% rose. And do understand the people at the top are constructing walls and throwing nails off the back of the truck to make sure no one can catch up with them. The goal of .1% is to eliminate the competition, the 9.9% below them. They’ll only effectively have it all when the ratio is down to two classes, the .1% and the 99.9%

    We are kept in place via shiny objects (500 channels, more movies and Apple watches and drugs!) and curated divisions. The ever-increasingly sharp lines between say blacks and whites are a perfect tool. Keep the groups fighting left and right and they’ll never notice the real discrimination is up and down. Some groups just found down earlier and harder, but as long as a poor white man in south Kentucky thinks he has nothing in common with a poor black man in the South Bronx they will never work together, never even see the massive economic forces consuming both equally. Forces are even now hard at work to tell us the Republican party is for whites, POC head Democrat, and any third party is a Russian shill in place to hurt the candidate you favor.

    Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage and that tax deduction or Section 8, you’re still on the spectrum of depending on the people really in charge to allow you a place to live. I do not see a way out of this, only maybe steps that can slow it down or cause it to speed up.
     
    Very short version summary: People like you and I fell through the cracks; we weren’t supposed to end up here but the .1% hadn’t worked out the details so they got as much as they do now and we basically ended up with bigger crumbs than we should have, especially me lucking into a “career” with no real skills.

    Our own kids may do OK with what we leave for them, but only if your son is a medical doctor will he have a decent shot at our lifestyle and only because of the “cartelization” of the profession by the AMA. The rest of our kids are unlikely to have any shot at what we ended up with.

    Sorry, I’m not a more cheerful guy but these conclusions are based on a fair amount of honest study.

     
     

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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • traven said...

      1

      Peter.. We now live in a time of very little hope. The previous president who we elected because we thought he would undertand the importance of “hope and change” betrayed us and just delivered ” more of the same old crap. The oligrches have a death grip on both parties now and the3y call the shots solely for their benefit and the poodles just follow.
      It hasn’t always been this way. We once had a government that gave the majority of Americans hope that tomorrow would be better than today.In the depths of the depression in 1937 my brothers and I were sent to an orphan home because after the death of our father mother couldn’t earn enough at 25 cents an hour to feed us. At 18 I went straight from the orphan homw into the Army Air Corps for the durtion of the war. When I was demobiized the government showed they cared about me by giving me a collge education at one of the best universitys in the country. I worked in the steel mils in Gary to supplement my GI bill but I was filled with hope.
      Keep hope in your heart and work for change. Don’t expect it will come from either party.

      02/24/19 1:42 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Gee, I hope you are wrong. I would hate for this country to run out of taxpayer cash to pay for wars we don’t need. Hey, Venezuela, I’m looking at you. Oh right, we don’t need to pay for these credit card wars. It will come out of your Social Security.

      So, I am the only person who bought your books? Damn, it must be a collectors item.

      So, if the middle class is runnng out of cash, who will be able to buy all this worthless shit? And if no one buys all this worthless shit, what value is there in the stock market? Ponzi schemes always collapse…eventually.

      02/24/19 10:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      And since the 1 percent own All the stocks, when the stock market collapses, these rich pricks will be just as poor as you and me, The End.

      02/24/19 10:46 PM | Comment Link

    • Doc Scheffler said...

      4

      Hope is the most significant thing missing in today’s society. Look at the higher suicide rates, the higher opioid addictions, you name it. It’s the absence of Hope. I am somewhat optimistic that Trumps focus on the Mainstreet economy versus the Wall Street economy will have a positive impact in the long term of our country.

      02/25/19 8:56 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      Is there another Trump? The asshole Trump in the White Supremacist House wants to invade Venezuela. He does what the Wall Street War Party tells him.

      02/25/19 10:22 AM | Comment Link

    • chucknobomb said...

      6

      NO BLOOD FOR OIL. Happy to see the lemmings are waking up (HOPE CHANGE BELIEVE) Kill your television. When the U.$. Lies, People DIE. Wage Peace and Justice…

      02/25/19 10:34 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      WashPo: Trump and Kim Stroke Each Other

      Thanks to Robert Kraft blowing the massage, this is what happens to old guys.

      02/25/19 12:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Peter,

      If you want to sell books, sex always sells.

      Kraft Cheese

      As for incident #2 — officials describe it the following way:
      “[employee] escorted Kraft to a room identified as JPPD Cam 2. There, the two hugged each other and Kraft took off all his clothing, laid face up on the massage table and [employee] hugged him again. At approximately 1102hrs. (Employee) began manipulating Kraft’s penis and testicles and then put her head down by his penis. This went on several minutes.”
      “After a few minutes, [employee] wiped Kraft in the area of his genitals with a white towel, helped him get dressed and hugged him again. Kraft gave [employee] one $100 bill plus at least one other unidentifiable bill”
      Officials say Kraft was only at the Asian massage parlor for a total of 14 minutes on January 20th — and exited to a waiting 2015 blue Bentley.

      Can’t wait for the movie.

      02/25/19 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      Newsflash: Robert Kraft denies he solicited sex from the Sextrafficked women. He now claims he was on medication and thought he made an appointment as a sperm donor, so that his genius could be propagated with humanity. This replaces his earlier excuse that he thought it was Tom Brady thanking him for an extension…of his contract.

      02/25/19 4:51 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      10

      Bauer- at best he’ll be charged with a misdemeanor- under inflated balls.

      02/26/19 8:31 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      Kraft,friend of sexual molester Trump, reportedly hired the same lawyer that child rapist Epstein, friend of sexual molester Trump, hired.

      02/26/19 9:13 AM | Comment Link

    • chucknobomb said...

      12

      Kraft to get award from Israel that they thought PR after Natalie Portman debacle, with him would help Ziopigs. Boycott French Fries!b How is Theresa Heinzes & Hubby doing? Pigs R. Have a nice day.

      02/26/19 11:08 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      KraftCheese proves rich people never have to worry getting head. Speaking of dickheads, Trump doesn’t have to worry about MuellerTime. It’s CohenTIME

      02/26/19 11:50 AM | Comment Link

    • chucknobomb said...

      14

      It’s Mueller Time ! Didn’t he help years ago with PR that the u.$. “HiSTORY” proves there was WMD in IraQ? Bernie Sanders CNN Town Hall. Brought to you by B,P and Big Pharma. Gotta love it! Back to a commercial after reading “War Is A Racket”. Enjoy…

      02/26/19 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • chucknobomb said...

      15

      Haiti… Thank God the Clinton’$ set them free.

      02/26/19 12:14 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      Let’s see: Dumbass white guy, then smartass black guy, then dumb, fat ass whiteguy, then smart beautiful ass white woman?

      Tulsi, see?

      02/26/19 12:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      75% of America wants gun reform, increased taxes on the very wealthy, universal healthcare, investment in infrastructure, real action on climate change, and it doesn’t happen, then our democracy is broken…but our politicians ain’t broke.

      02/27/19 2:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      18

      Let US not forget poor rich folks like Kraft and Trumpie. They are two old guys no woman not a prostitute would blow them. So let US go fund me two hitech Asian sex dolls for these dirty old men. Trumpie will be less angry and Kraft will have his balls deflated in private. If you contribute 50 bucks you also get autographed copies of Peters new book, Poor Rich Folks.

      02/28/19 11:03 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      19

      The Trumpie sex doll is discounted for “extra small.”

      02/28/19 11:09 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      20

      Contrafactual fun? Had Hillary won which of the Clinton’s many fixers would now be publicly testifying against their former boss for their criminal behavior before and after the election in front of the House Oversight Committee? I tender Cheryl Mills- Michael Cohen’s fraternal twin.

      02/28/19 4:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      21

      Hillary or Trump. Not since Poland had as bad a choice- Hitler or Stalin.

      02/28/19 7:43 PM | Comment Link

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