Wage Crisis

2013 ,    »  -   131 Comments
Ratings: 8.07/10 from 182 users.

The American working underclass has been under extreme tension for some time. Now with politicians not inclined to increase the minimum wage and food stamps stretched thin, the social ramification could be disastrous. The recession is not over for most American citizens. Most Americans have basically seen their salaries hibernate or go down since 2008. In fact, American average income of a full time male worker today is lower than it was 40 years ago.

Close to half of the working Americans can't save for an emergency or their own retirement. 50% of the people in U.S. live in financial uncertainty. It might be unbelievable, but New Jersey is the third richest state in the richest country on this planet, yet one it's likely to work full time there and in the same time live in financial difficulty. The prevailing story's been Obamacare and the debt ceiling, but more permanent story is the struggle to make ends meet. The middle class in the US is disappearing as wages go in reverse and secure jobs with good pay and benefits vanish.

If you think these problems are applicable only to New Jersey, think again. Across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, there are more and more working people who are living in grinding poverty. America's regular working people have no sick leave, no holiday leave, no health care benefits in a society where medical aid is extremely expensive. It's morally scandalous that in a country as affluent as the U.S. they have such low, incredibly low, minimum wages.

131 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Harry Nutzack

    the grimmest of realities. yet, if you were to consult any of numerous forums, you would see hundreds of examples of declaration that these impoverished workers "suffer due to their own shortcomings". i always wonder how many of them have ever been to camden, or newark, or gone to bed hungry after a long day of work?

  2. bringmeredwine

    Yikes! I didn't know the minimum wages were THIS bad, especially in the food and beverage industry. This is crazy. No wonder there is so much crime.

  3. bringmeredwine

    That fat-ass politician spewing empty promises obviously doesn't ever go to bed hungry.

  4. Harry Nutzack

    lol, "krispy kreme"(a popular donut chain here) chris christy actually had lap band stomach surgery before this doc. he used to be quite a bit larger

  5. Harry Nutzack

    the insanity of america, my friend. in fairness, i should state that in some rural areas of our country, it is possible to eke out an existence on those meager wages. in our "classic model" here, minimum wage was long the pay of only teenagers, or bored senior citizens who worked for "something to do". also, the tips in that trendy bar could easily exceed a couple hundred dollars a night (though not in a rural diner). only traditionally "tipped employees" get the F&B minimum, not dishwashers, cooks, or those employed in "fast food".

  6. Galzu

    The fact that money is being restricted to banks only so they can still make profits and that interest rates are near zero mean that money is so short for the majority that they will stop caring for others and only care for family, this is the kind of mentality the elite want you to have so to make you ready for war, so I would say this is intentional so to make you support a war, if you look at the people behind this then it is clear you have to fight a war on another countries behalf, so your economy was crashed to play out another countries war aims, but another way to look at this is as a test. eradicate those that force you into war and you will be free.

  7. bringmeredwine

    Food and beverage servers in Ontario make 8.90 an hour, and I thought that was bad!
    I'd heard fast food workers in New York State went on strike for higher pay. (for one day)
    Did this help them rise above their 7.00 an hour rate?
    If any one knows this, it'll be you!

  8. Harry Nutzack

    7.65 an hour, but no, it did them no real good. a huge problem here is many of our legislators are old enough to remember when a coke cost a nickel, and you could buy a bag of groceries for a dollar. they tend to project such pricing into their decision making process on such things as minimum wage. they also see the recipient of that wage as a pimply faced teen, flipping burgers to save for a tin lizzy, a raccoon coat, and a hip flask to impress their fellow "hep cats", lol.
    another major problem here is the "right to work" states (i live in one). the wages are kept artificially low by outlawing "closed shops" (requiring union membership to work there). that kills collective bargaining. union carpenters here in FL make roughly 1/3 what they do in NY because of it, without the additional "perks". thus all wages are lower, because the cheapskates don't have to compete with a union wage to attract workers. the cost of living is roughly the same, though. tomorrow i go back to work after a 15 month hiatus due to an injury i received on my own time (thus no comp, or disability), and i fully expect to be "rolled back" to the rate i started at 8 years ago, as well as being limited to part time. i'm actually lucky, as my boss could easily have just told me "go to hell". just part of the cost of life without shoveling snow, lol

  9. bringmeredwine

    Some states don't allow union shops, seriously?
    I really hope your wages aren't "rolled back". Good luck, eh.

  10. TheDanishViking

    Notice how the guy who used to be a wall-street broker and is now
    working two jobs is truly embarassed that his political views may have
    shifted to the center? I experienced the same thing when I lived in the
    US. People are so afraid to be associated with anything remotely
    connected to "socialism" because it seems to run counter to the American
    Dream. To me this is the real problem because it prevents any real
    change in politics. In Denmark basically all political parties are
    shades of social-democracy - what would be called center or liberal in
    the US.
    On a personal note: I lived very well for two years when I
    was in the US with money from my homecountry and there are many great
    things about the US that I often miss - however, I often felt I was a
    little disconnected from reality in the US because I did not have to
    worry about money. Everywhere you go there is underpaid people - often
    illegal workers from South America. It is like there is this invisible
    line behind the lucky people with money and then people just struggeling
    and never getting a chance. It sometimes made me feel like I was living
    inside a bubble and the only thing I could contribute with was to
    consume stuff.

  11. Harry Nutzack

    i believe roughly a dozen states are "right to work" now, and several are (under "teatopian" leadership) pushing such legislation through. there is even a huge bloc of our citizenry that see ANY minimum wage law as "commie influence". many see unionized municipal workers as "unamerican". as our population ages, they forget the benefit that unions brought to ALL in this country, because they may have to actually pay for it, without reaping the benefits NOW. safe working conditions matter little to the retired, nor does a "living wage". our populace isn't known for impressive long term memory, lol

  12. Harry Nutzack

    a guy i know who is german once told me "your 'left wing politicians' are equivalent to our mainstream right wingers, and your 'right wing politicians' are like our barely legal extremists". that fear of "creeping socialism" is programmed into our populace from birth. many here consider union membership as "red" in general, and a municipal worker being unionized as "hardcore commie crapola!!". look at the current negotiation between boeing, washington state, and the machinists union for production of their 787. washington is offering a multi-billion dollar tax cut to the corp to entice them to produce the plane in their state, but boeing is also demanding union concessions on wages (the same union that MADE boeing the "giant of aviation"). if they don't get their demands, boeing will produce the aircraft in north carolina, a "right to work" state (where a "closed shop" is outlawed). it's "red" for the union to want what they have earned, but it's perfectly fine for the government to have to bribe the corporation.

  13. bringmeredwine

    What a strange country you live in.
    The only thing I envy is your warmer weather.

  14. Unfolding pattern of the World

    LOL.... America, this is your Karma!

  15. Dave Ace

    Ah... The American Dream. That's all it ever was America, a dream. Time to wake up to what the rest of the world has been dealing with.

  16. a_no_n

    half of them don't even get that

  17. Horst Manure

    QE fir ever is added into the GDP but is you take out the QE portion USA is in a depression and it is only just starting.
    USA feds know what is to come that is why FEMA HS have enough rounds to kill every one 2.5 times.

  18. ZarathustraSpeaks

    Whether you call it Socialism or any other "catch phrase" the only way to ever help people improve their own situation in life is to always teach self-reliance and personal responsibility. Bankers and the greedy "fat cats" will always look for "marks" and victims to prey on. The biggest burdens ever put on individuals is to preach reliance on public systems to change their 'lot in life". Laws and governments can only regulate the playing field which will always flow with current political winds. Whatever is the "truth" about America is the truth about the world. Trying to focus on America as some special case in contrast to other countries is the worst form of bias that judges individuals based on what country they happen to have been born in. We always have choice, good or bad, fair or unfair. To the extent we are victims of our own success is a result of how we respond to whatever success we have. Playing games with how we "tinker" with the tax code only plays into the hands of those that want to gain political objectives by promising solutions that only they can provide. Every new solution we buy into adds another link to our chains when we rely on the politicians and moralist to tell us what we need.

  19. John Murgaš

    America should become self efficient, creating self efficient homes and jobs!
    We got so much technology to help us that we look like we have Alien Technology!!!

    If you had an iPhone 100 years ago, you would off looked like you came from another planet, but then again, we have an architecture that is mostly useless and not a very smart Social Planning Structure? You have Highrises with 2 or 3 people working on each building unswerving phone calls, The Food comes from hundreds of miles away knowing that there's so much advance in agriculture that you don't even need soil anymore, plants, fruits and vegetables grow Indoors In Aquaponics, you don't need meat to live...
    We have Alien Technology in some sort of figurative speech!!!

    Why are we not using this in this country? Because we are being ruined by Globalist Banking Cartels that don't give a f--k about you! only more for them selfs and less for everybody else.

    Let's bring self efficiency back in the US and part of the world without sociopathic Superiority Complexes and Bring back Empathy into the World!!!

  20. bringmeredwine

    I'm sure they are doing the best they can, under the circumstances.
    I'm looking forward to meeting more "Americans" on my next trip.
    They always have many questions about my country, too.

  21. dmxi

    how many hungry are needed 'till tippingpoint ?time will tell !

  22. bringmeredwine

    Oh! I'm sorry.
    You mean half of them don't get the warmer weather.
    Wouldn't want to live in Tornado Alley, either.

  23. Space_Cadet_1952

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your ostrich ‘capitalist-conservative’ hypothesis. Not everyone has the capability to run a self-employed business, I submit. The simple facts below are the main problems, which have caused the massive loss of jobs and worker devaluation, in the Western world:

    As follows: Exportation of jobs by the hundreds of millions, along with their industries, to the Third world including China - allowing such countries to pay as little as $20 a week for 60 hours work. Asian clothes and trainers manufacturers are classic examples, where the cost of manufacture wages can be as little as 0.1% of retail value (15c wage cost for a pair of $150 trainers).

    US companies used to manufacture everything in the USA in the 1950-70s. Take Levi, Wrangler, Brutus, etc. Jeans that were made in the USA are now made in Mexico, Turkey, China… Even MagLite torches, used by the US police, are made in Mexico, paying basement wages.

    A massive reliance on an unserviceable balance of payments deficit with China, which varies from $200 to $300 billion per year, year on year, since 2005. It has risen from $6 million in 1985, to a peak of $315 billion in 2012. That’s $3.25 trillion deficit with China alone, since 1986. More than $10,000 debt to China for every man, woman and child in America.

    Then take into account the hundreds of billions lost on Wall Street in 2008 by corrupt, greedy, irresponsible traders, Like Bernie Madoff ($65 billion losses), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Fed, etc. All of whom, and more, have royally screwed the American economy. Not to mention our little neck of the woods, with most of the high street banks almost collapsing, had it not been for of bale outs by the UK government. ("Of the £123.93bn, the Royal Bank of Scotland received £45.80bn, Lloyds £20.54bn, Northern Rock a total of £22.99bn, Bradford and Bingley £8.55bn and a further £26.05bn went on "loans to support deposit"). Then there’s Iceland’s banking disaster…

    Financial Times of London: “We know there are bad things happening because when people appeal something like 40 per cent of the appeals are upheld. Perfectly good companies with perfectly good management are turned down because of the credit committee,” he told the Financial Times. In key areas like exporting, and innovating for companies, it is very difficult to get money out of the banks.”

    Independent News UK: “UBS faces fresh outrage about banker pay after it emerged it has paid one of the men behind the disastrous sale of ABN Amro to Royal Bank of Scotland a Sfr25m (£17m) golden hello.

    (2009) RBS is anxious to avoid any more negative publicity following the outrage, which surrounded the departure of disgraced chief executive Sir Fred “The Shred” Goodwin and his huge pension. From 2000 to 2008 he presided over RBS's rapid rise to global prominence as the world's largest company by assets, £1.9 trillion, (turned into £2 trillion debt), and fifth-largest bank by stock market value, and its even more rapid fall as RBS was forced into effective nationalisation in 2008. On 11 October 2008, Goodwin officially announced his resignation as chief executive and an early retirement, effective from 31 January 2009 – a month before RBS announced that its 2008 loss totalled £24.1 billion, the largest annual loss in UK corporate history.

    (2013 - Hatchet man for RBS) Mr Hester's exit, announced
    after the stock market closed on Wednesday, will see him leaving the bank with a payoff of up to £5.8m, comprising a year's salary of £1.6m from the date he departs and up to £4.2m in share awards.

    The payment to Andrea Orcel, the Swiss bank's new head of investment banking, comes in the year the firm was hit by record fines for Libor rigging. Mr Orcel, who was poached from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to clear up in the wake of the Kweku Adoboli rogue trader scandal, received a cash payment of $6.4m and UBS shares worth Sfr18.5m to replace his previous bonus schemes”.

    And so it goes on, and why wages are so low for the 99%, whose wages are controlled by the top 1%... How quickly we forget.

  24. ZarathustraSpeaks

    All may be valid points but they dont change the fact that these problems existed in the past before NAFTA and before economic Globalization. As long as we choose to focus only on the people that took advantage of the system's flaws(many of which were and are legal to date even if judged to be immoral) for personal gain as the "evil elite" that are responsible we dont do anything empower the individual to act and plan accordingly. To say that individual is helpless without laws designed specifically to punish the rich rather providing ground rules for all is to diminish all human value. If our end game is expansion of the "middle class" and growth in power of labor unions it seems to miss the point to me even with my 'head in the sand"

  25. kaitse8

    Yeah, blame the FED for printing USD like crazy and US Govt. for using appro. 40% of their budget on military!

  26. TheDanishViking

    @Zarathustra: Always good to hear the "Freedom" side of the story ;-)
    Can I just point out one single fact that you may wish to consider: The
    social mobility in several European countries, Australia and Canada is
    now higher than in the US.
    Basically, in my opinion all
    reason supports that you need to have a fair balance between the public
    and the private sector. In the US the public sector is starved, the
    political system is completely under the influence of private lobbyist
    (a process that in other countries is referred to as coruption) and, in
    addition, the public sector is daily ridiculed by the privately owned
    media. Perhaps if you looked into how the public sector works in other
    countries you may change your view on the government and the public sector? At least - whatever is the truth
    about America (or France for that matter) is NOT the truth about the rest of the world!?

  27. ZarathustraSpeaks

    The "truth" about whatever country is in question is the people of that country are born equally with the same "value" of any person born in any country. What that person becomes is a result of many factors hopefully including the ability to make their own decisions based on their own family, life experiences and beliefs. It is certainly your option to "scoff" at the value of freedom of the individual to decide his/her destiny but I see no more real value in the human experience. The apathy and low voter participation in elections results from individuals abdicating their ability to particpate in the process as a direct response to the perceived inability to affect political outcomes. This apathy can at least in part be traced back to the money trail no doubt. The gridlock can be traced to the two party system promising a better life and better way to be provided and delivered by only their party. If the focus is only on creating the right program or punishing the rich then the real work of the people never gets done. From this scenario the individual response to adverse situations will always be looking for a scapegoat rather than a solution that is minimally invasive and equitable in its nature. The only basis for human rights if one does not depend on "God given rights" which I do not(Counter to Paul Ryans assertion) is the desire for self preservation.

  28. Space_Cadet_1952

    I was establishing reference points only, not offering a solution. The problem with deficit-driven capitalism is that it is force-fed by notional credit worthiness, aka 'magic money' which has not been earned by any constructive process with value attached, such as goods or services. Speaking of the middle class, professional people world-wide now all expect to live like Americans. The end result is to consume 6 Earths to provide the resources... The human race needs to make its suit according to the cloth provided, otherwise 'the emperor has no clothes' - as has been proved, time and again. Why do the owners of Wal*mart (the dystopian Walton family) need to pay themselves $500-700 million each year, while their workers still receive food stamps?

    "America’s richest family, worth more than $100 billion, has exploited a variety of legal loopholes to avoid the estate tax, according to court records and Internal Revenue Service filings obtained through public-records requests. The Waltons’ example highlights how billionaires deftly bypass a tax intended to make sure that the nation’s wealthiest contribute their share to government rather than perpetuate dynastic wealth, a notion of fairness voiced by supporters of the estate tax like Warren Buffett and William Gates Sr".

    “I hate to say it, but the very rich pay very little in gift and estate tax,” said Jerome Hesch, a lawyer at Berger Singerman LLP in Miami who reviewed some of the Walton family’s trust filings for Bloomberg. “At the Waltons’ numbers, the savings are unbelievable.”

    “We shouldn’t have a situation where gimmicks allow rich people to avoid estate taxation,” Gates’s father, William Gates Sr., the author of a 2004 book that advocated for the estate tax, said in an interview. “A value in our lives is having children who make their own way to some extent. It’s unfortunate to have people who, when Mom and Dad pass on, they leave you a billion dollars for which you’d done nothing.”

  29. TheDanishViking

    People in Europe and Canada have just as much "freedom" as people in the US, the voter parcipitation is often higher than in the US and, as I already mentioned, the social mobility is often higher. At the SAME TIME there is a social security network and free healtcare etc. As long as we can agree on these facts I am happy.

    Whatever works works, but what works in France may not work in the US and that is exactly why you need to adopt the pragmatic and not the philosophical approach to politics.

  30. pwndecaf

    You continue to amaze me, Harry - in a good way! Your presentation of the facts is always convincing. I find I almost cannot disagree with you. I seem to feel the same as you on most (maybe all) issues. If I never thought about your point before, I'm wanting to sing in your choir.

    Amen, and Hallelujah, brother!

  31. Fabien L'Amour

    Say thanks to globalization, U.S.A workers used to make shoes, clothes, pillows, televisions, phones, etc... Try to find any of these at Walmart that are made in U.S.A. Corporations went for the cheapest least regulated work force to increase the profits of share holders and the government was glad to cooperate because they financed their campaigns and had powerful lobbies. I always thought globalization was insanity. Giving away whole sectors of your economy to countries ruled by dictators or corrupt regimes is dumb as can be. I bet soon most of the food will come from abroad too and then the real pain will begin when they decide the US dollar is not the world reserve currency anymore.

  32. Harry Nutzack

    i have worn MANY hats in my time, which has allowed a "first person" view from many perspectives. i have also been fortunate enough to interact with folks of many differing strata of society. i try to see the world through the eyes of others, and have an allergy to self delusion. i strive to remain grounded in reality. i am also an incredibly curious ape, and have been since my earliest memory. having spent long hours examining my own "feet of clay", i try not to begrudge my fellow man his. having been cast as both hero, and villain, in the various trago-comedies that make up my life i find little is either black or white, but a vast spectrum of grey exists in my eyes. i rarely condemn, yet have no problem calling a spade a spade, even if it causes me to suffer yet another broken nose, lol

  33. Harry Nutzack

    they already buy their blood

  34. Harry Nutzack

    if kafka and vonnegut had co-written a novel, and then commissioned dali to illustrate it, they may well have been able to capture the surreal flavor of my homeland, especially if they had chugged a few bottles of "mad dog 20/20" for inspiration, rofl. it honestly escapes me how so many of my countrymen can cling to the myth of "american exceptionalism", or at least claim to while maintaining a straight face

  35. henrymart81

    The American Dream is as alive as it ever was. Anyone thinks otherwise has been brainwashed. You can whine about life being unfair, sitting and waiting for equal distribution of wealth, or you can work your butt off and make it happen (for yourself). I'm doing the latter - making progress and seeing results.

  36. bringmeredwine

    He is a gem. This world needs more like him.

  37. henrymart81

    That bartender is misleading with her paychecks. For the first paycheck she says she worked 28 hours over a two week period. For the second paycheck she says "it's almost a 40 hour work-week."

    Also, why is she excluding to mention she made about $200 in tips per pay period? All in all she averages about $8/hr which is low for a bartender, but I've never been one to take a job which relies on tips.

    Also at the end they show her with a dog. If she's broke, why does she have a dog? She obviously can't afford one.

  38. Nikita Kade

    Finally--FINALLY--someone is talking about this: the worst crisis this country has ever faced--the destruction of the middle class. That class has watched its opportunities, both white- and blue-collar, disappear, while employers have lowered wages, eliminated healthcare benefits, and cut out anything remotely resembling a retirement account or 401K. Desperately trying to hold on to the things their parents took nearly for granted--a home, a car, maybe even two cars, since inevitably two people in a household are both working to make ends meet--the middle class has watched itself joining the ranks of one of the only two socio-economic groups left in this country. There are the Rich, and there are the Poor. Two guesses where the middle class sees itself sliding toward.

    In the meantime, greed that would be considered criminal if practiced by Tony Soprano goes unchecked and unremarked upon. Credit card companies are allowed to rape clients with staggering interest rates. Banks simply do whatever they want--raise interest rates on loans whenever they please, raise fees for ATM use and checking accounts, even dip directly into your account at other banks and remove money if you haven't paid them quickly enough--and dare you to challenge them.

    On another front, the credit-reporting industry--which invented itself and has made itself supposedly indispensable, even though its reports are often inaccurate and misleading--has grown into a nightmarish Big Brother, mightier than God and Uncle Sam in deciding who will work and who will not, who will have a car to drive and who will not, who will have an apartment to live in and who will not. More than your resume, your skills, your experience, even the amount of money in your bank account, your credit rating determines where and how you will live. With countless numbers of Americans finding themselves under- or unemployed, unable to pay their bills, resorting to food stamps--who will be left to measure up to the credit raters' high standards? Yet instead of realizing this and reining in an enterprise that has grown into a monster, the country seems to be embracing the rating system more than ever, using its bloodless conclusions as a simple way of excluding "undesirables"--and insuring that countless deserving people who need a break--just one--won't get it, because they fell behind on payments after suffering through an illness or losing a job or making a mistake in handling money.

    And our politicians raise taxes, raise their salaries, cut social services, go home to their comfortable beds, and sleep well.

    Where can this lead? When the basic structure of the country is altered in such a manner--when a majority of its citizens cannot hope to save enough money for retirement, and many of them right now are working forty-hour weeks that keep them locked in debt and barely able to put food on their tables--what will the picture look like in thirty or forty years? We'll see. We'll be living it. From here it seems bound to be very, very ugly unless we start attacking these issues NOW.

  39. Hussain Fahmy

    One has to be fast asleep to experience the American Dream.

  40. Horse

    A very good post.

    Noam Chomsky has been talking about such injustices for years, for further reading for anyone who cares about politics and possesses a moral compass, I'd recommend reading and listening to his numerous talks. ("Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor," is certainly a good topic related to this doco.)

    Historians will look back on USA in shock and wonder how people tolerated such inequality. We currently look back at the feodal system in the dark ages-where peasents endlessly toiled in the fields for their masters-and ponder the same question.

    Here's a question I'd love answered;
    Just how long will Americans put up with injustices and political/corporate mismanagement before a massive social movement occurs?

    Human affairs are generally complex and I don't know enough to guess.

  41. bringmeredwine

    She probably has a dog because she loves him dearly. Many people see their pet as a member of the family. You don't get rid of a family member during hard times.
    In this heartless world, they can be your only comfort, and will love you no matter what.

  42. dmxi

    meager pay=low rent=cheap district=more crime=dangerous neighbours=safety issues!you do the maths for a single woman to protect herself?i'll give you a tip:it barks!

  43. Nikita Kade

    Horse, I am so relieved to see another Noam Chomsky fan on here that I'm almost (well, almost) speechless. Noam has said it all already, and said it far better than I ever could; if you are reading, watching, thinking, there may be hope for us after all.

    What frightens me is that there MUST be a revolution which ousts the what has beceome the country's regenten, or self-appointed ruling class, economically, politically, and even in the world of entertainment: how often do we we see a politician appearing on Saturday Night Live, while a comic hosts a dinner at an investment banking firm, while a corporate president eviegles to have a fluff show put on network TV to net him a few more million dollars...while the band plays on? But my fear is that this revolution may not hark back to the principles which made the country work in the first place, but may lead only to the meeting of the new boss, same as the old boss...

    What God wants, God gets. God help us...

    Thank you for reading, for your compliment, and your response.

  44. Space_Cadet_1952

    WIKI -

    'Linguist Noam Chomsky has criticized the way in which free market principles have been applied. He has argued that the wealthy use free-market rhetoric to justify imposing greater economic risk upon the lower classes, while being insulated from the rigours of the market by the political and economic advantages that such wealth affords. He remarked, "the free market is socialism for the rich—[free] markets for the poor and state protection for the rich."

    Arguments along a similar line were raised in connection with the financial turmoil in 2008. With regard to the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Ron Blackwell, chief economist of AFL-CIO, used the expression “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor” to characterize the system. In September 2008, the US Senator from Vermont, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders said regarding the bailout of the U.S. financial system: “This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor”. The same month, economist Nouriel Roubini stated: “It is pathetic that Congress did not consult any of the many professional economists that have presented […] alternative plans that were more fair and efficient and less costly ways to resolve this crisis. This is again a case of privatizing the gains and socializing the losses; a bailout and socialism for the rich, the well-connected and Wall Street”.

    Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich adapted this phrase on The Daily Show on October 16, 2008: "We have socialism for the rich, and capitalism for everyone else."

    But what are we doing about it..?

  45. Harry Nutzack

    200 in tips per pay period?? lol, try "per shift". she gave up a 30k job, and admitted "she does better" pushing drinks at yuppies. her base pay is completely negligible. the "tragedy" in her narrative is as an educated, skilled professional, in a position of responsibility, she was paid "subsistence wages" (30k in tampa is just enough to get by, not live in a ghetto, and avoid the debt cycle if you live in a frugal manner), while slinging alky and flashing cleavage to drunks allows her to maintain a better lifestyle.
    the woman featured at the end who was savaged by the pitbull (frolicking on the beach with her chubby cairn terrier) was an entirely different person. her "tragic narrative" entailed avoiding crushing debt over emergency medical treatment ONLY because she was able to "con" the hospital (because she was working "off the books", and thus had no official income that they were able to detect). had she been employed "on the books", such forgiveness would NEVER have been forthcoming.

  46. Guest

    If you're poor then you can't afford pets.

  47. henrymart81

    If you're poor then you can't afford pets. If you can afford pets then you're not poor.

  48. bringmeredwine

    That's not always true.
    I have volunteered for years at our food bank and humane society.
    I've rescued animals on my own time.
    People usually surrender or abandon their pets because they have become "inconvenient", or for medical reasons or they have to move away and can't have a pet in their new place.
    Poor people (and I have been one), if they love their pets, don't usually surrender them. Nor should they have to.
    You cannot judge these pet owners unless you have walked in their shoes.

  49. yellowmattercustard

    I don't think Mr. Bojangles would give up his dog.

  50. bringmeredwine

    "Me 'an you and a dog named Boo...."

  51. Bill Farley

    Now that's profound and I mean it.

  52. LoggerheadShrike

    I've seen homeless people with dogs. Guess they're not poor? Sorry, you're just being r*tarded here. If you lose your job and don't eat your dog then you're middle class or something? It doesn't make any sense. It's s*upid. Medieval peasants had dogs, Africans have dogs, homeless people have dogs. So come join us in the real world and get a grip.

  53. Bill Farley

    And the FED charging compound interest.

  54. Bill Farley

    We are always reminded that this country or that country (including the USA) are suffering from huge debt. Well I have a burning question: Why is it no one talks about the people/organizations who we/they owe money to? Who are they? Based on the size of debt all over the world, someone is worth a lot of money!

  55. Lauri Neva

    I am struggling in retirement, it just does'nt last the entire month so I use credit cards to tide my way for food and necessities. It is a no win situation growing old in this G.D. country!

  56. sejn

    There is no explanation here of where its all gone. Multiple trillions are in tax-free tax haven bank accounts of the 1%. The 1% are doing fantastic, thank you and they are buying off Congress to ensure our nation remains in dire poverty to further enrich themselves. This global economic crisis was intentional and continues to exponentially benefit the 1%. Show the billionaires.

  57. guest401

    Why do people think education is a free easy rout to high wages?

    Find jobs that are skilled, (Trade skills for example) start at the bottom making nothing as a helper, use your eyes/ears and work hard to master the trade. A high level of skill will give you value that cost more the minimum wages.

    Education is free if the job you have teaches you skills.

  58. Murali pat

    all over the world including communist china the rich are looting the poor. the walstreet bankers are the example. this is the beginning of the decline of America, the rich establishment does not even know it

  59. TheDanishViking

    The Chinese.

    In a nutshell the world economy is based on the Chinese borrowing money to the US so that the US consumers can buy Chinese products. If the Chinese decide to stop lending money to the US they are destroying their own economy. On top of this you have the huge global "middle-man" companies like for example Apple that buy their products from factories in China and sell them to people in the West at ten times the price, and at the same time pay no tax. Essentially the money end up in the global companies and of cause the banks own the companies.

  60. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    I can tell from the abstract that this is just going to be a simplistic emotional appeal to raise the minimum wage, when every honest economist can show you that poverty is aggravated by a minimum wage which prices the vast majority of 1.) black youth out of the job market, 2.) prevents the employment of anyone with a criminal record, 3.) eliminates the opportunity for any illiterate person, high school dropout, or unfortunate with a sub-85 I.Q. from getting hired. Black youth unemployment was lower than white youth unemployment in the 50s and 60s, because the Minimum Wage was so outstripped by inflation to be of no effect. Because of the Minimum Wage, marginally productive white and black youth have no choice but to turn to athletics or crime, which of course has exploded over the same period.

    Consider this emotional and alarmist formulation: "In fact, American average income of a full time male worker today is lower than it was 40 years ago." Forty years ago was 1973, the very peak of the post war economic boom. Everyone was rich then or stoned. LBJ wanted "guns and butter" and legalized a Great Society. Then along came Jimmy Carter, malaise, stagflation, the loss of the Panama Canal, the rise of Islamicist terror at the US Embassy in Teheran and then Beirut.
    If you won't allow someone to take a job at "whatever he can get," you just keep him out of work. You are not compassionate at all.

  61. Harry Nutzack

    the chinese "own" less than 20% of us govt debt. the vast majority of that debt is actually "owed" to entities of the govt (the largest being the social security trust fund). it's the "shell corporation scam" at a national level. by manipulating the capitalization of subsidiaries that are wholly owned, the parent corp can create an illusion of "poverty", and thus avoid taxation, wages that are unpopular with management and investors, and benefits. uncle sam does it to "cry poverty", and avoid financial obligations that are impossible to "skim", and social responsibility for their populace.

  62. JohnVideobiographer

    Oh, yes, you country club Republicans are SO concerned about black youth and the developmentally disabled. Your hard-hearted Puritan viewpoint is reaping what it has sown, the Tea Party. Their demagogic leadership has pushed this country to the brink and shown to the world America's morally bankrupt status. Your hypocrisy and meanness will sideline you and your kind, while a new generation of politically aware Americans returns this country to its rightful place at the forefront of liberty, enlightenment, and dignity for all.

  63. TheDanishViking

    Thanks. I stand corrected. I did not know that.

  64. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    John, the only time I went to a country club was when my buddy took me in high school. He was a caddie. One other time, I went in the front door for Donna Shula's wedding. I was not invited to join. I was never invited to join a trade union either, thank God.

    You state a lot of opinion and ad hominem. Do you have any facts or argument? Like Thomas Sowell discovered when he was a Marxist, liberals never use empiricism because they all accept the same views without ever testing them against reality. "We all believe it so why experiment?" He's the one with the black youth unemployment figures.

    The Minimum Wage is like Democrat masturbation: Nothing gets produced or improved. You just get a warm sweet feeling how compassionate you are.

  65. Harry Nutzack

    one of the "great" things about our govt is they actually document pretty much everything, and allow free access to it on the web. most americans are just too lazy to look, and take the bluster of partisan talking heads as gospel. an examination of revenue streams actually shows lots of incredibly profitable industries play loopholes to pay miniscule taxes, thus feeding that "deficit" (which is funded by devaluing our currency, NOT any kind of "real" debt). as it would be impossible to cry "you have to give the rich a deeper break" while admitting they get a free ride already, the phantom menace of "debt and spending" is trotted out by their spin meisters. economics is philosophy that lies about numbers, and not much else

  66. dmxi

    "If you won't allow someone to take a job at "whatever he can get," you
    just keep him out of work. You are not compassionate at all."
    that is compiled drivel sustaining the neo-liberal economical farce!really??c'mon?!!
    how you can use 'compassionate' in an uncompassionate economy model is beyond me & renders a cruel satire or naive republican masturbation,as you like to fiddle with 'human' nature'slash'reality,to uphold an outdated & misanthropic 'slavery-by-debt' system.the roots of the problem lie deep & so are easily twisted,corrupted & taught without challenge...
    too much to lose as gaining knowledge for fair change.one has to conclude that the big picture of economical inbalance eludes your range of reality.....meaning:"did you ever experience the need of accepting underpaid labor to survive from next to nothing?"
    a view from the horses back narrows the wisdom of 'earthly' issues

  67. Horse

    Yes I think we'd both agree that political change will be necessary in the US (and many other countries) sooner rather than later. Because things that can't go on forever, don't.

    History tells us that a big problem with revolutions is that they lead to further caos, before things settle down (or perhaps, as you say; "same as the old boss.") That makes me nervous. With humans, you never know what you're gonna get.
    But, anything of value is always difficult to acquire.

    I don't despair about what's on TV because I no longer watch it. We're lucky to have the internet (should be a basic human right!) and although there's a lot of garbage on it as with TV, by knowing what to look for, there's access to so much interesting information.

    Thanks to this abundance, I believe that that first we educate ourselves, then we act.
    This is nothing new, history is full of such examples. For example, never had it been seen, the pre-Iraq war global protests, where millions of people around the World took to the streets, protesting against a war that was yet to even take place. The people were less naive, educated enough to know that action was necessary.

    Never has it been so easy to self-educate, share, connect with other people and to organise. Trust me Nikita, there is hope!

  68. Horse

    On the extreme end of the scale, let's say that instead of the woman owning a dog, she was driving a Lambrigini. You would say that it wouldn't be reasonable, she ought to get her priorities sorted etc. Henrymart81 would have a fair point; she can't afford one.

    Now go to the opposite extreme end of the scale and say, 'if she's poor, how can she afford clothing? Or rent? Or food?' Any sane person would say 'that's ridiculous' or 'they're basic necessities,' or 'have you no heart?'

    Owning a dog would notch itself up only after the basic necessities on the priorities scale in my view, since in general, dogs are good for the human condition, they're great company, we've evolved with them, they make life better.

    Also, does being poor mean you should deny yourself life's little pleasures?

    And another thing: Being defined as poor is relative to the country's society. So for example, being poor and owning a dog in the US isn't unreasonable since the US is an affluent country.
    Whereas being poor and owning a dog in a third world country suffering a nation-wide famine is maybe unreasonable, and I'd be surprised if your neighbours didn't try to eat it either!

    What's definately unreasonable is that despite the US being the wealthiest country in the world, a large proportion of the population relies on food stamps, the minimum wage is so low, etc, etc take your pick etc.

  69. Benfagre

    How uneducated you are.

    Allow me to fill you in. Low wages decrease purchasing power, thus demand, thus results in HIGHER unemployment, while simultaneously lowering the quality of all goods and services (available to the common man, not the elite). "Oh but we have plasma TVs and..." If you look at work hours and material used to produce goods, quality have dropped significantly, it is merely masked by technological advances (by the way, funded in most part by the government). The reason for the high unemployment of today do not have ANYTHING to do with your perceived post-war nonsense, but is actually spelled globalization.

    Secondly, if wealth is measured in health, then the failure of global predatory market fundamentalism is total. A safety net is a requirement for workers to object to poor salaries and poor working conditions. For instance, if you are asked to clear out an asbestos contaminated area without appropriate protection, you will obviously decline. But not so if the alternative is starvation, just as you will not complain about salary and stress. Without minimum wage and / or safety nets, salaries will quickly drop to the reservation line.

    "Well, that is a good trade-off, since lower salaries means more employers can hire!"

    But that assumption is incorrect. As already mentioned, the purchasing power decreases. Employers do not employ for fun, employers employ because they need workers to produce the goods and services they provide to earn money. If there is no demand since there is no purchasing power, employers do not have a need to employ.

    "But lower wages drops the price of goods and services so the relative purchasing power remains constant, nay, is increased!"

    That assumption is also horribly flawed. You see, there was a time and place where salaries where at the reservation line. Charles Dickens wrote books about that lovely society. Now, I ask of you, what was the unemployment back then? 0%, like you anarcho-capitalists believe?

    Or how about Indonesia under General Suharto? It is ironic how you talk about empiricism, when all historic societies modeled after your utopia were dirt-poor fascist-states.

    But putting that aside. Lets pretend as if we have greater access to goods and services in an anarcho-capitalism. The aforementioned health concerns nullifies any such economic gains if we measure quality of life.

    TL:DR Back to the school bench for you.

  70. BBB

    I agree you on some parts but disagree on others. Increasing the minimum wage will not magically increase real purchasing Power, because real purchasing Power on a national Level is determined by the amount of Labour and Capital employed to produce goods and services, and the Productivity of these inputs. Increasing the wage for Terry at McD will not make everybody richer, it will merely be a distribution of wealth from the owners of McDonalds (who will be able to exert less demand due to their lower cash flow), and more demand from Terry ( so a switch in the countrys Product mix could be a possible result). They key is to educate People and dont price People from certain backgrounds out of the education market. And it wouldnt hurt to shut Down a lot of those plants for unskilled Labour over there either, like GM (Americans are only socialist when it comes to big Companies) or those endless fastfood Chains making Your population fat and putting pressuse on the already expensive Health care system. Leave car manufacturing to the way more productive japanses, and ande use the savings in subsidys to a few more asses through college, and thing might starte to brighten.

  71. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    When I started, in 1964, I was paid much less than the Minimum Wage for 48 hours of work because I was classified as an "exempt" employee by calling me a "manager." I managed no one, just a camera store. When I started the second time in 1981, I earned less than the Minimum Wage on my seven 12 hour days because I was an "exempt" independent contractor--a taxi driver.

    Your remarks are way incoherent and I am unable to address them. Did you study linguistics under Dr. Chomsky? Or praps logic under Hiram Walker?

  72. dmxi

    sorry,pops...like chomsky but hate canadian whiskey.

  73. Nicholas Hewlett

    What i suspected , unfortunately, i would not encorage my children to go to America. Holiday , yes, work and live , no.

  74. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    I found out why they stopped teaching high schoolers that ad hominem arguments are unethical and illegitimate. It's because Saul Alinsky and other leftists consider it, and disinformation, a major weapon in their rhetorical distraction.

  75. dmxi

    better than distracted from real major weapons!

  76. Harry Nutzack

    "i got scr*wed, but survived it, so it should be ok for everybody" is basically your position. i have seen a similar "logic" used to justify: robbing the weak, brutalizing strangers for "fun", child molestation, despotic politics, and racism. in short, it is the underpinnings that sociopaths use to justify their injustices. that in and of itself completely negates it as a position that is of ANY societal benefit. my deepest, heartfelt sympathies to anyone who has to deal with you on a business, societal, or personal level.

  77. Harry Nutzack

    everyone was "rich or stoned" in 73??? can you possibly believe that imbecilic nonsense? news flash, Terry: there have ALWAYS been folks who are poor. i knew parents that worked 3 jobs to "get by" in 73, and had NO time, money, or inclination to "get stoned". they were in NO way "rich", they often chose to fore go ANY spending on themselves to insure their kids had meals, a roof over their head, and clothes. to represent such an OBVIOUS falsehood as "fact" demonstrates you are either clueless to the extreme, a COMPLETE imbecile, or lying through your teeth knowingly.

  78. nadako

    See the thing is with the girl she choose a bad degree. High Schools should educate teens on what degrees will make them a decent amount of money. getting paid 28k a year is no way to live, but what most people forget is that companies will pay for your knowledge if your job does not require much knowledge then odds are your going to have a bad time making a lot of money.

    Its sad that we condemn people that doesn't have a good college degree.

  79. Blorvis

    First, Decrying Ad Homonyms and following up with an Ad Homonym is intellectually dishonest. Second, I’m reading this back and forth shrillness with a sad sense of defeat. I
    see a whole lot of angry frustrated back-and forth, but no one is listening to each other. Yes, we are all angry and frightened as we watch our nation falter and descend into disarray. Put down your pitchforks people! We all love our country even if we don’t agree on how to fix it – tear down your walls, get out of your bubbles and let’s get to work. Believe it or not, what we believe is sometimes wrong. (Yes, it’s true!) Please listen to each other without judgment. Side note – NEVER turn off your spell checker! It doesn’t help your point any to see it garbled.

  80. dmxi

    whom are you addressing? i have 'spell checked' mine as i've been residing in germany for the last 30 years & rarely have the chance to converse in english,it has become a necessity to freshen up my 'lingo',if you will.....& i'm british,btw so no national love for the us of a (...& no love for any nationality, as that is an emotional act beyond my understanding of reason) but the gentleman i was addressing made a comment that had to be challenged,imo.i would be 'delighted' if you would point out my mistakes,so i know if my spell-check is 'kaputt' & but if you mean the missing of capital letters that is due to my 'anarchistic' leanings (except the his/hers),so 'sod off'>smirk<!

  81. Blorvis

    Please forgive me. It wasn’t personal. It was a message to all. I have always been impressed by those who have a grasp of more than one language. As stated, I’m an older American, and as such still cling to a certain amount of decorum; this includes clarity and conciseness. I hope that the larger point was taken that I feel that we are currently either unwilling or unable to listen open-mindedly to the views of others, even when we fervently disagree. I made my judgment about what Terry "OldFox" Seale (Hi Terry) had to say after listening to his points and have concluded that I am not convinced by his arguments. Done! No harsh words, no neener-neeners.

  82. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    I hope that did not go ad hominem, please say where. If so, i apologize, but i don't see it.

  83. Doug

    this documentary is false and misleading, the entire united states is governed by the fair labor act including people who work for tips. the fair labor law requires that persons who work for tips will earn at least minimum wage, meaning that an employer can pay an employee 2.50 an hour however if the employee does not make at least minimum wage after factoring in their tips the employer must then make up the difference. do some research before you mislead the people in the future.

  84. Blorvis

    I might be splitting hairs, and I may be a little hyper-sensitive, but Saul Alinsky’s name has been used as a weapon of the right for a while. “and other leftists,” what does that mean? In addition, “they,” these ill defined leftists of which I believe I’m one, consider “disinformation a major weapon in their rhetorical distraction?” I barely know who Saul Alinsky is, but many other leftist thinkers that help me understand why I feel attached to the world-view that I possess, have never to my knowledge attempted to “distract” me with “disinformation” (read lie.) So yes, insulting the sources of my political philosophy without citation is an Ad Hominem attack on my views and me. I don’t take it personally, we all get excited to share our views; however, all of us on the left and right should limit rhetoric to agreed upon facts and reasonable assumptions – and thus, move forward in harmony. Peace out Bro! Us codgers need to work together – these young-uns don't know much!

  85. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    Harry, you missed my point. It's not about me. It's about that anyone, any day can find a way around the Minimum Wage if they and their hireling are willing to agree. Arrianna Huffington bragged on TV that when she began her business, she paid family members less than the Minimum Wage.

  86. Greg R.

    We're on a trajectory that's basically going to collapse on itself. The gap between rich and poor will continue to grow regardless. Why prolong the collapse by increasing the minimum wage? Think about it. If 99% of the population can't afford say an iphone and only the 1% can, then Apple will collapse. Apple cannot sustain itself on these limited sales. It's not like the 1% are going to go out and purchase 10,000 iphones each a year to keep Apple in business. The same will happen all across the board. There's this myth that our current system must be sustained when that's not true at all. The only people that want the Status Quo are those that have accumulated mass wealth. The human race will move on with or without this system.

  87. iheardawho2

    It's not like they don't know any better, they just hope that not all companies prescribe to the old fashioned practice of paying slave wages for work they deem less important. But if it weren't important then why don't they serve their own drinks to themselves or cook their own meals when they go out to eat at their 5 star restaurants?

  88. Janeen Clark

    when enough people go through this we can end the use of money in the world

  89. socratesuk

    And replace it with what? ... A barter system?
    People are always going to want things. Whether its food or clothes or some kind of service or new product, and people will always find a way to exchange products and services.

  90. nadako

    What most people often forget is how hard it is to start a successful business. Even though I am not rich I do believe they should be rewarded for their success.

  91. iheardawho2

    Yeah but rewarding oneself with two houses, three cars, season tickets to their favorite team, and building a personal indoor ,movie theater before paying your employees enough to pay rent is more than unfair. Especially if you take into consideration, many companies in the US got their start from stealing land from the natives. They also got their start with slave labor. And it's those guys who set the standard that everyone strives to "earn" someday. I think people need to change their idea of what success is if they ever want to see a more peaceful world.

  92. MartinScreeton

    Super little documentary, of course many economists including Stiglitz who is on tape here have been urging a rise in the minimum wage for several years ... to no avail.

  93. MartinScreeton

    Yes we have a fair labor Act that is No longer "fair" of course! Been worked over by 30+ years of Republicans in office going back to Reagan ... In fact all of our present day problems can be traced directly back to his "visions of freedom" in America! LOL

  94. MartinScreeton

    Yes Nick, this country is fast becoming a hellhole, thanks to the politicians and their corporate backers, its their vision not ours anymore. The people got dumped many years ago.

  95. cato cato

    What a load of lies. Socialist propaganda poorly presented as fact.

  96. Roi Truax

    OK... So everyone goes to college and earns degrees in these new progressive fields. Now their skill sets and education is a dime a dozen. Now what?

  97. race_to_the_bottom

    Yeah, the folks from the CATO intstitute have been having their Milton Freidman way with the economy for 40 years now. Looks great!

  98. race_to_the_bottom

    So there are all these people who can't find work because the wages they would have to be paid are too high?! Which unfilled jobs would that be?

    It seems that there are actually some capitalists out there thinking, "Boy, if I could just pay all those ex-felons and Black youth $5.00 and hour instead of $7,25, I would hire a ton of them".

    To do what?!

  99. Terry "OldFox" Seale

    Deliver newspapers, baby sit, street sweep, deliver milk to residences, wear sandwich boards or costumes on the sidewalk to generate traffic, mow lawns, wash windows, housemaid, maintain swimming pools, garden, prune trees, cut hedges, housework for elderly and disabled, drive people to the doctor, city hall, the bus depot, supermarket, wash cars, wax cars, detail cars, help take out the trash, run errands, rake leaves....

    If a job, task, or temporary assignment cannot generate $7.25 an hour in value, that job does not exist. It is not "unfilled;" it is against the law for someone to accept or for someone to offer their services or labor for anything less than the govt says. Bob Cratchet's family would not be able to celebrate the position that he found for his oldest boy, Master Peter, on Christmas Day, would they?

    Why, pray tell, are jobs moving offshore by the millions?.

  100. Hussain Fahmy

    A creative person is never out of work. Statistics show that the most wealthy started from scratch with enormous obstacles and made it to the top through sheer faith in Allah and persistence.

  101. Katia Watson

    Lies? Most people I know - even those who graduated from University with good grades and with honors degrees (and now often have student loans, unless they came from rich families that paid for their schooling) are not in a financially secure position. I live in Canada, and I know many people who work full time - or more than full time - who cannot save for emergencies or move ahead. (I imagine it would be even worse in the states). Maybe you just come from a wealthy family and have never been in a tough financial situation where you can't get ahead no matter how hard you try, but from my personal experience I know there are a lot of people willing to work hard, but who still barely live above the poverty line. Most people I know who did graduate from University cannot even save up enough for a down payment for a house, so the high costs of many rentals just keep them in a disadvantaged loop. It's depressing. No wonder people feel like giving up.

  102. Aphex

    Use of money is not the issue here, so ending it's use is non-logical. The problem is when we have private institutions controlling the production of a currency, which creates debt and leads to inflation, thus paying higher and higher taxes year after year while the price (value) of things increase. There is more virtual money (credit) going around than actual physical money, and even physical money (coins and notes) are worth **** now, where before our monetary system was privatized, gold and silver was the standard, coins were made of silver, filaments of gold were imprinted on the notes which gave them value, while today it has no legal tender, it's fictional money created out of thin air which is sold to the government with debt attached to it. There's the problem.. we were sucked in a never ending loop of debt, which in the end creates a bigger gap between lower and upper class and you can see the results by controlling peoples' wages.

  103. Kim

    Yes, but why should I subsidize businesses and corporations? Why should I be expected to shore up the lousy wages paid to those who earn tips? I'm not their employer. It's not my responsibility. A tip is a bonus for a job well done and it's paid by the consumer--not the employer. I don't even have to leave a tip. This is not unlike how I'm expected to subsidize corporations that pay lousy wages with no benefits through my taxes that go to food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, food banks, shelters, and whatever other assistance their employees are on. When is corporate welfare going to stop?! I'm sick of it. And I'm beyond sick of subsidizing the food service industry. Let restaurant and bar owners pay their employees. It's NOT my job to do so.

  104. nadako

    I do agree with you there but unfortunately most people do not measure success as how well their business is doing but how much they are able to make personally. I plan to work for microsoft because they treat their workers with the best kind of respect. Unlike walmart, kroger, and other places. Their success should still be rewarded because without them they wouldnt be hiring any employees.

  105. John

    Tips, as far as I am concerned should never be a part of a persons wage, No one has to give a tip, and my outlook on tips is or a job well done, it's not part of the price of the food, it's a gift from one person to another, not to the f*cking corporation for them to pay ess or the useless government. It should never be taxed , it already has been taxed as an income. So that said, you think fair labour practices are fair paying an employee 2.50 per hr?

  106. dleet

    For a few years I have been testing a variation on the parlor game 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. I substitute 6 degrees of Reagan on any and everything that is totally screwed up in the country, and it works every time. One man can destroy a country. [one woman can too, Sandra Day O'Connor agreed to hear Bush v Gore in spite of admitting later the causes were specious. btw, she was appointed by 1 degree of Reagan]

  107. dleet

    I think he's an imbecile. btw, homeowners did damn well under Carter. Our fixed 30 year mortgage just kept getting cheaper. The banks lost a bundle and convinced Reagan to never let them ever again lose money. He obeyed, or said his lines, and the party of state's rights overturned 50 state constitutions prohibiting securitization of mortgages and we had the S&L then 2008.

  108. LoggerheadShrike

    Looks great to them! They've leeched everyone's money with the government's help, now they're laughing all the way to China while the West crumbles. As intended; they've been waiting for a crony-friendly authoritarian regime ever since the 40s.

  109. Roberto Severino

    Yup. The Kochtopus is everywhere wreaking havoc. Trickle down "economics" is a load of nonsense and nothing but a scam to benefit the corporate plutocratic elite.

  110. Michelle

    Oh, they know, it has been their plan all along

  111. Nick

    Hate to break it to you, but the consumer by nature of business pays the employees. Whether that's through tips or higher dish prices, the revenue has to come from somewhere. While the tip system is a bit turbulent and silly, the end result is the same.

  112. LMairena

    Right. And no one would disagree. It's just like the price of a steak in a restaurant includes facility costs such as heating, water, maintenance, grounds, etc., etc. But the problem with tipping is it went from an exchange between me and my wait person to an exchange between me and my wait person's employer. It's like this little sub-economy that I now subsidize. And that's wrong. A tip has lost its meaning. It's no longer, "Here's something extra for a job well done." Or, "Here's nothing because the job wasn't well done." To an expectation that as a patron I shore up the crappy wages being paid my wait person. Hence, I feel strongly enough that I need to opt out of tipping altogether.

  113. Austin Kraus

    I'm confused, are you implying the government is a private institution? That is still who makes the money, same as the days of gold and silver. The government is indeed increasing inflation though as it prints money to try to stave off government shutdown. Also, while money is "fictional" it is no more viable than gold or silver. I do not need any of these things. I just have faith that someone will give me what I do need in exchange for them. The only things not fictional is what is essential to human life, shelter, food/water, oxygen etc. However, most of that stuff spoils or would be impractical/impossible to trade. Therefore, paper money is just a stand in for these things and I don't think adding precious metals to paper money will really change anything, either way they are "fictional". Like I said, just confused by your comment, maybe it was just your wording.


    Actually, there are some pretty sophisticated barter systems in place right now - but guess what? They're taxed too.


    How many states? I won't eat in restaurants anymore because of the gruesome stats about food industry worker's being on food stamps or unable to survive on what they make... and no sick pay. Oh yea. I want their germs? Not.


    I agree. I have very talented friends who know way more than me about business, but they don't have college degrees and it keeps them from being confident enough to start their own businesses.


    Mr. Friedman would say that the magic of the marketplace will correct the problem - the one it created in the first place.


    Only 20,000 US businesses earn more than $100 million/yr. It's a trip. You can pull the "Business Receipts" data on census. gov and paste it into .xls and chart it yourself like I did.

    The other 6.5 million businesses are distributed across every amount up to $100 million/yr, with a bubble around $10 million and a bigger bubble under $2.5 million/yr.

    So what we really have here (using 2007 data) is the Fortune 20,000.

  119. cato cato

    For the record, our government has been DOMINATED by Keynesians destroying the economy for sixty years. If Austrian ideas were ever tried we would all be liberated from a tyrannical government. You socialists have destroyed our economy.

  120. cato cato

    Trickle down is a myth and doesn't work. Just like government as middle man doesn't work.

  121. socratesuk

    Some examples would be nice... Small tribes do not count.

  122. Jay

    Yup, the American myth.

  123. spleege

    I like how her daughter just "came along". hehe. To add proper context Journeyman, you must ask the proper questions. That matters in a world where opportunities are less frequent. The channel 4 Brit docs, which this is very much like, are typically lame. Either they placate to the unfortunate or they embellish the "ignorant American". Another Schlock "documentary". I'll put this next to my Theroux docs.

  124. Jacek Walker

    It only shows a predatory and uncivilized state of our societies. The current definition of success is a definition of a sociopathic mind pushing forward regardlessly and trampling everybody and everything else underfoot.
    The sad truth is most people are not angry at bankers or politicians for their destuctive ways. They are simply jealous of their financial pseudo - success and once given a chance they would behave exactly the same.
    This is what scares me the most. Another "civilization" in decline.

  125. MAllen Documentaires

    So many Slaves of the Federal Reserve.

  126. a_no_n

    I love the way that socialism gets the blame for the consequences of Reganism.

  127. marie

    People here have to work they cannot live off the benefit system like they can in th UK.There is no free rent and weekly allowance.When people have to go to work to live you have a much better society and economy.There are programs for the old,pregnant and children.

  128. matthew walker

    I'm the first to say that the system in the US is failing miserably. For the best info on this, read or watch anything by Robert Reich. One thing I would note, however, is that in many cases, such as the majority of those interviewed in this film, having a child (or 3), when not financially prepared, is just asking for chronic impoverishment. I feel nearly zero sympathy for the couple and three children - one still in a crib - in this film. Such people knowingly increase their financial stress, and the public has to pick up the bill. I make six figures and wouldn't have a child, given the brutal nature of the current financial situation in this country. If ya lose your job and have no savings - substantial savings - you and your family are going to be in the proverbial poor house, if not on the street. I have few to blame other than myself if I were to go have a child and another child...and another child. Please stop reproducing!!!!!

  129. Kevin Devill

    Thank you Congress and the Obama Administration. All of which have turned this nation into them making money off of war and fake murders like (Sandy Hook-Do you research), and the rest of us poor pawns.

  130. Deny

    Why weren't those stupi* owners with the dog that attach her put to pay the bills for the hospital? They should work all their lives if they have to, until they pay each cent, plus pay her all their lives because they destroyed her leg.

    To all the dog owners: keep your dog close to you! Just because it never bit you, doesn't mean it won't bite another person.

    One person is killed by a dog attach every 2 weeks. Yes, when I was walking with the dog, even though was the best dog I ever knew, I would always keep her out of the way when people would walk by. Don't behave like eveybody has to like your dog.

  131. Jill

    I am a $7.25 an hour employee. Few understand the challenge of this until they walk in our shoes. God have mercy on our country.....which sent our jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor workers in other countries. The US is devastated ........I dont know if we can or will return to where we used to be......

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