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Are You Better Off This Thanksgiving Than You Were Last Thanksgiving?

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving?  If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not.  As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal.  According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million.  And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table.  Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum.  The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year.  But most Americans live in a very different world.  The percentage of Americans that are employed is about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession, the quality of our jobs continues to go down, the rate of homeownership in America has fallen for seven years in a row, and the cost of living is rising much faster than paychecks are.  As a result, the middle class is smaller this Thanksgiving than it was last Thanksgiving, and most Americans have seen their standards of living go down over the past year.

In 2014, there are tens of millions of Americans that are anonymously leading lives of quiet desperation.  They are desperately trying to hold on even though things just keep getting worse.  For example, just consider the plight of 49-year-old Darrell Eberhardt.  Once upon a time, his job in a Chevy factory paid him $18.50 an hour, but now he only makes $10.50 an hour and he knows that he probably would not be able to make as much in a new job if he decided to leave…

For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work.

He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts factory in Lorain, Ohio, but now he makes $10.50 an hour and is barely hanging on. “I’d like to earn more,” said Mr. Eberhardt, who is 49 and went back to school a few years ago to earn an associate’s degree. “But the chances of finding something like I used to have are slim to none.”

Of course you can’t support a family on $10.50 an hour.

You can barely support one person on $10.50 an hour.

But there are many men out there that would absolutely love to switch positions with Darrell Eberhardt.  At this point, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) does not have a job.  That is an absolutely crazy number.

And of course just because you “have a job” does not mean that things are going well.  The number of Americans that are “working part-time involuntarily” has risen by over 50 percent since the beginning of the last recession.  There are millions of hard working Americans that would love to get a full-time job if they could land one.  But these days “decent jobs” are in short supply.

For example, CNN recently profiled the story of college graduate Meghan Brachle…

Meghan would love to be a music teacher or play full-time in an orchestra. She studied music at Loyola University in New Orleans and plays the flute.

Instead, Meghan works a slew of part-time jobs and receives no benefits.

She is a cashier at Whole Foods, a substitute teacher, a flute tutor and an administrative assistant at a non-profit.

Even with all of her hard work, Brachle and her husband often really struggle to pay the bills

With inconsistent hours, Meghan monthly income fluctuates between $1,000 and $3,000. Even with her husband’s teaching salary, the couple sometimes struggles to cover the $3,600 of monthly expenses they have.

“It’s very stressful,” Meghan, a college graduate, says. “I think about all the job applications I’ve turned in and all the interviews I’ve been on and all the other people who are in the same situation, looking for those same [full-time] jobs. It’s frustrating.”

Sadly, a lot of these part-time employers know that their employees desperately need these jobs and are using that leverage to treat them very poorly.

For example, it is being reported that any KMart employees that do not show up for work on Thanksgiving will be automatically fired.

What kind of nonsense is that?

Read More @ theeconomiccollapseblog.com

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4 comments to Are You Better Off This Thanksgiving Than You Were Last Thanksgiving?

  • Angel

    Yes, I am better off in some regards.

    On the work front, I actually received a pretty decent increase above and beyond what the average working stiff would normally get (if they got anything at all), and my health insurance premiums have only risen slightly, with no change in coverage (which is actually quite good).

    Because I practice extremely conservative spending habits and keep a tight budget, personal debt continues to not be an issue.

    Due to the fire sale prices of PMs, I’ve been able to stack considerably more in the last year.

    And although I realize this is not the subject of the article, my wealth in ways not ordinarily recognized as such, i.e., non-financial, has grown exponentially in the last year.

    Yes, ALL of this (and more) can change at the blink of an eye, I know, so I take nothing for granted and count my blessings daily, especially remembering all too well what it was like to be in quite the opposite situation.

  • rich

    no but the cronies that count are thankful for the citizens ignorance…….

    Elizabeth Warren Blasts New York Fed President William Dudley

    This Elizabeth Warren grilling of New York Fed William Dudley over the revelations in tapes made by ex-New York Fed employee Carmen Segarra, is a bit more Socratic than her normal approach, presumably because she has more than the typical five minutes for questions. Don’t be deceived by her pacing.

    Warren goes after a derivatives transaction that Goldman did with Bank Santander to help the bank create the impression it had more capital than it did. What is appalling about the exchange is it revealed that the New York Fed’s general counsel Tom Baxter effectively pulled the supervisory team off the transaction by deeming it to be legal. But he never checked with the intended victim, the European Banking Authority, to see if it was kosher. Worse, Dudley acts as if this is all fine because the deal was public. In fact, the transaction was so complex that even Bloomberg’s house derivatives maven Matt Levine couldn’t puzzle it out.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-blasts-new-york-fed-president-william-dudley.html

  • Ed_B

    “Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving?”

    No, not really. But then, I am also no worse off than I was last year at this time, so maybe that is a sort of victory. Other members in my extended family, however, ARE worse off then they were a year ago, so I do what I can to help them. While that lowers my income somewhat, it is well worth it. Hard times do not usually occur as events but as a process that occurs over months and years. It was so in the Great Depression of the 1930s and it is still so today.

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