Why does the American middle class continue to struggle financially?

Aug 11, 2013

Since the mid-1980s, unrestrained household spending has damaged American family finances—despite the fact that globalization and technological change have caused consumer prices to fall widely, says Queens College sociologist Joseph Nathan Cohen. In his paper, "The Myth of America's 'Culture of Consumerism': Policy May Help Drive American Household's Fraying Finances," which Cohen will present at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, he examines the factors that keep American families from tightening their belts.

A brief summary:

  • Household spending on goods that fulfill pleasure, self-esteem, or social status needs have generally been falling, including personal care items, apparel, home furnishings, and automobiles.
  • However, consumption spending has risen most in four product categories that shape families' health, safety, and : health care, education, housing, and commuting costs.
  • Prices in these four product markets have greatly outpaced both wages and prices in general.
  • Americans may be systematically pressed to overspend on housing because access to better schools, public services, and varies considerably across communities, and better-heeled communities often restrict affordable housing developments. Americans may face a relatively high well-being penalty for living in more modestly-priced homes.
  • Compared to other highly-developed countries, the U.S. does considerably less to control the personal financial burden borne by households to ensure access to these products and services essential to well-being.
  • Soaring tuition and are not the principal drivers of household , but they constitute the fastest-growing problem.
  • Cohen argues that our penchant to blame household spending problems on wastefulness or frivolities obscures the fact that Americans increasingly face a lose-lose dilemma in which they must choose between sustainable finances and access to quality schools, child care, medical care, public safety, and employment opportunities.

Cohen, a Canadian with a business background who studied at Princeton (Ph.D. sociology, 2007), also examines how other countries tackle the provision of essential services in different and potentially less financially damaging ways. "Canada's policies control the personal financial burden of accessing essential services, which might be why household finances are in better shape there," he says.

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More information: The paper, "The Myth of America's 'Culture of Consumerism': Policy May Help Drive American Household's Fraying Finances," will be presented on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 2:30 p.m. EDT in New York City at the American Sociological Association's 108th Annual Meeting.

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Gmr
3.5 / 5 (25) Aug 11, 2013
Yeah. Capitalist paradise where top salaries vastly outpace middle-class salaries, especially when one figures in "bonuses" and "incentives" that are not counted as "income" but are very real in terms of wealth and how well-off somebody is. All that money has gone to the top, but the costs are handed down.

And contrary to some theories, the upper class is not a sieve. They are a very, very large sponge. A sponge that never seems to reach capacity.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (20) Aug 11, 2013
For the last three decades, Republicans have acted on their plan to reduce government assistance to the middle class and poor by bankrupting the government through reduced government revenue, and increased expenditures on the U.S. military Industrial complex.

The peak of this plan was Bush Jr.'s $4 trillion WAR CRIME in the Middle East, paid for by borrowed money.

On top of this treason has been the numerous economic failures caused by Republican deregulation,

And on top of this has been the fleecing of the American Middle class by deregulated corporations moving their production out of America and then selling the same products, although inferior in quality back to Americans at inflated prices.

Virtually all of America's internal problems are the result of outright Treason and corruption by the Republican party along with the economic sabotage caused as those Republicans facilitated the movement of American jobs to foreign countries for the purpose of increasing corporate profits
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2013
Govt plunders too much from those who try to earn and redistributes to those who will vote for 'liberals'.

"However, consumption spending has risen most in four product categories that shape families' health, safety, and economic viability: health care, education, housing, and commuting costs.
Prices in these four product markets have greatly outpaced both wages and prices in general."

Health care, education, housing and commuting are ALL heavily regulated and controlled by the state.

"Household spending on goods that fulfill pleasure, self-esteem, or social status needs have generally been falling, including personal care items, apparel, home furnishings, and automobiles."

These items are less controlled by the state and must compete for the consumer's business.
kochevnik
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 11, 2013
The top class is given free access to 0% loans (free money) from bankster Bernanke which is subsidized by Obama's bank bailout and higher interest payments from the lower classes (the taxpayers) who will never be able to repay the debt as wage growth is kept at 0%

In effect the uber-class is effected by a new form of discrimination: the bankster-connected class and the plebeian working class

"despite the fact that globalization and technological change have caused consumer prices to fall widely" - In other words the money supply is being CONTRACTED for all but the bankster-connected uber-class. Banksters are effecting worldwide DEFLATION reminiscent of the last century. Any student of history will know that the greatest economic crises are no inflationary, but DEFLATIONARY. It is a bottomless downward spiral that only bankruptcy, war or abolishing the currency can resolve
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (15) Aug 11, 2013
"The reality is that government subsidies not only lead to ever greater educational costs, but also threaten the very existence of private institutions of higher learning."

Read more: http://www.fee.or...bekgPPwA

"A new econometric model developed by Gary and Aldona Robbins of Fiscal Associates, Inc., which looks at how America finances health care, provides insight into why our current system for subsidizing health care distorts demand and adds costs that increase the probability that some people will be priced out of the market for affordable health insurance coverage. "

Read more: http://www.fee.or...beljoPQh

In housing, local zoning and building restrictions decrease supply and govt control of the mortgage industry distorts costs.
Govt subsides, regulations abound in all transportation.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (18) Aug 11, 2013
. Any student of history will know that the greatest economic crises are no inflationary, but DEFLATIONARY.


What's wrong with deflation?
Under deflation, the value of money INCREASES, costs decrease. The computer industry has prospered and the world has prospered in an industry where costs fall everyday.
Inflation is the devaluation of the money which increases the prices and enables the govt to hide taxes.
Germany's fall in the 20s was due to INFLATION.
Recent US recessions are due to INFLATION.
Inflation only benefits the state, not the individual.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (17) Aug 11, 2013
Transportation:
"In any case, the "efficiencies" resulting from subsidized centralization are entirely spurious. If the efficiencies of large-scale production were sufficient to compensate for increased distribution costs, it would not be necessary to shift a major portion of the latter to taxpayers to make the former profitable. If an economic activity is only profitable when a portion of the cost side of the ledger is concealed, and will not be undertaken when all costs are fully internalized by an economic actor, then it's not really efficient. And when total distribution costs (including those currently shifted to the taxpayer) exceed mass-production industry's ostensible savings in unit cost of production, the "efficiencies" of large-scale production are illusory."

Read more: http://www.fee.or...bepdO3i5
Lurker2358
1.9 / 5 (13) Aug 11, 2013
Rygg:

Nobody here buys your crap.

Besides all that, I don't see prices declining anywhere. Everything from apples to wheat is more expensive than ever. Okay, gasoline is down a little from the all time highs, but still more than triple the price from 15 years ago. I also remember when you could buy a 3 piece white chicken dinner at Popeyes, with the drink, for only $3.00. Now it's $7.00 without the drink, and the side is smaller than it used to be.

So the claim that prices have dropped is a fabrication, which nobody who actually spends money would believe.

Things which used to be considered luxuries are now requirements for employment. If you don't have a computer and a smartphone, a lot of companies simply won't hire. They won't hire without a smartphone, even if you have the other things, and all working family members MUST have them. Yet another few % of income for work related needs. There was no such pressure in the 1980's or even 1990's.
Lurker2358
2 / 5 (12) Aug 11, 2013
Ryggtard:

You complain about healthcare regulations. Seriously? Do you really want to see doctors and hospitals cutting corners, so there'd be even more hospital acquired infections, accidental exposure to AIDS, and other crap like that? However, I do think Nurses and Doctors are over-paid in some cases, which is why I'm planning on going back to school. Work 3 days a week and make $10,000 - $15,000 more than the state mean. Can't beat that in most cases.

Something you're failing to realize is our civilization has solved most of the problem except medicine, which is why medicine makes up such a large part of our economy. One of the problems in medicine is that every time scientists figure out a way to eliminate a previously existing known killer, something else moves in to replace it, perhaps not as bad overall, but the gains are never 100%. Smallpox, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Cholera, mumps, etc, all solved and we live much longer, but now there's still cancer, MRSA/VRSA, and pneumonia.
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 11, 2013
Additionally, while the capitalization of medicine has had it's benefits, a few generations ago, doctors used to be part time, and had some other job as their primary income; it also has drawbacks.

Capitalization of the drug industry leads to little incentive to create cures, which only serve as a one-time source of income, and more incentive to create "treatments," which can be used as a constant supply of income throughout the patients' lives. Why settle for the glass of milk when you can get the whole cow legally? If not for the implementation of generic drugs, the situation would be even worse. the "treatments" would cost even more than they already cost, because the brand names from the original developers have their prices massively marked up, just because they can get away with it. It works the same way as the capitalized energy market: They charge you MOAR because they can, not because they must.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (16) Aug 11, 2013
Do you really want to see doctors and hospitals cutting corners,

Many corners are being cut in the highly regulated UKs socialized medicine.
brand names from the original developers have their prices massively marked up,

have their prices massively marked up,

What is their profit margin?
I just read Viagra is being provided in some South American country for 'free'. Someone has to pay. Who?
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (15) Aug 11, 2013
Everything from apples to wheat is more expensive than ever

It's called inflation and govt regulations adding to the costs.
When the value of a currency falls, prices rise.
I don't see prices declining anywhere.

What was the price of a terabyte of storage 10 years ago? Five years ago?
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (13) Aug 11, 2013
"Rather than define Hasan's attack as an enemy attack or a terrorist act, the administration has defined it as a case of "workplace violence." Following this determination, those wounded in the attack, as well as the families of the murdered, are denied the support conferred on soldiers killed or wounded by enemy fire."
"In the absence of public pressure, the Obama administration has no reason to change course when its policies fail."
"So long as he maintains faith with the god of appeasement, the US media will protect him. And so long as they protect him, he will pay no price for his failures. So he will repeat them."

Read more: http://www.realcl...bfHeOnxu
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter
BHO's policies that are building the crony class and the welfare class are not being challenged and the socialists pay not political price.
ForFreeMinds
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 11, 2013
The author doesn't consider the burden of government which has continued to rise. And those who claim corporations are stealing from us apparently forget, that these corporation need political power to get the legislation/regulation needed for it to happen. E.G. Vendicar's rant stating "the fleecing of the American Middle class by deregulated corporations moving their production out of America." The bailouts are a good example of government stealing from taxpayers to reward campaign contributors in the banks.

Also adding to the increased costs, are the increased costs due to "regulations". Consider, if you're selling a car for $30,000 but by adding safety equipment can make the car safer for another $10,000. Wouldn't it be nice to get a government "regulation" mandating that increased safety? That way, every car buyer will have to buy this safety whether they want it or not, and the manufacturer's profits will increase as well.
ForFreeMinds
1.6 / 5 (13) Aug 11, 2013
The author doesn't consider the burden of government which has continued to rise. And those who claim corporations are stealing from us apparently forget, that these corporation need political power to get the legislation/regulation needed for it to happen. E.G. Vendicar's rant stating "the fleecing of the American Middle class by deregulated corporations moving their production out of America." The bailouts are a good example of government stealing from taxpayers to reward campaign contributors in the banks.

Also adding to the increased costs, are the increased costs due to "regulations". Consider, if you're selling a car for $30,000 but by adding safety equipment can make the car safer for another $10,000. Wouldn't it be nice to get a government "regulation" mandating that increased safety? That way, every car buyer will have to buy this safety whether they want it or not, and the manufacturer's profits will increase as well.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (8) Aug 11, 2013
@Rygg
. Any student of history will know that the greatest economic crises are no inflationary, but DEFLATIONARY.
What's wrong with deflation?
The problem is that while prices fall, there is no money to purchase any goods. You conflate technological growth with economics, but they are unrelated

@Lurker2358 Besides all that, I don't see prices declining anywhere
What IS declining are real wages. The price of goods is less relevant as very few will have the means to buy anything. Most things will become unaffordable. In the past prices and wages went down in a deflationary spiral. Declining wages alone are far worse
VendicarE
2.7 / 5 (7) Aug 11, 2013
Of course American wages are falling. The American working class now had to compete against $4.00 a day workers in the developing nations in part from formerly American companies who have fired their American workforce and hired $4.00 a day workers in other countries.

And prices are going up - with corporations raking in vastly higher profits as a result of the lower wages they pay.

Libertarian Economists were behind the movement of labor out of America. According to their arguments Americans would easily accommodate the changes by developing an information based economy, where Americans - the smartest people on earth according to those Randite economists - would do the thinking, while the rest of the world does the labor.

Anyone who raised the issue that Americans are the dumbest first world population that has ever existed, didn't enter into the treasonous minds of the Libertarian economists... They just labeled anyone who disagreed with their nonsense as socialists/communists.
VendicarE
2 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2013
"The author doesn't consider the burden of government which has continued to rise." - FreeTardo

You mean the deregulation of American Corporations and the banking industry over the last 30 years by Republicans never happened?

What have the Republicans been taking credit for all these years?

Lies?

VendicarE
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2013
"The bailouts are a good example of government stealing from taxpayers to reward campaign contributors in the banks. " - FreeTardo

The bank bailouts were stared under the Bush Regime of course, The regime that deregulated the banks. Deregulation that caused the banking disaster in the first place.

TARP was a BUSH ERA program.

Do you think that George Bush managed to create the "economic crisis" that his brother Jeb indicated must be caused in order to further the Republican cause of destroying American Government.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (14) Aug 11, 2013
The problem is that while prices fall, there is no money to purchase any goods. You conflate technological growth with economics, but they are unrelated


Innovation drives a thriving economy.
Prices can fall for two reasons. One, customer demand falls, and one reason demand can fall is because people are conserving resources. The other reason price can fall is efficiency.
Standard Oil produced kerosene so efficiently they could lower the price and still profit.
Wal Mart made distribution more efficient and passed on the savings. They also became such a large buyer in the market they could get volume discounts from their producers.
I was in Leningrad in 1983. From what I could tell the people had plenty of money, but there were few products to purchase. Levis were going for 100 rubles with an official exchange rate of $1.5/1 ruble.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (14) Aug 11, 2013
And now, govts are so capricious, businesses have no way to plan what the govt will do to them tomorrow.
They can't plan their costs and can therefore not know if they can earn a profit. If they are not certain if they earn a profit, they won't make the product or hire anyone to make or sell the products.
No jobs, no salary.
So there is plenty of money sitting on the sidelines because no one knows what the socialists will do to them next.
Now, the democrats in WV just realized they were screwed by BHO as his policies are driving the cost of coal so high no one will buy it and miners are out of work.
kochevnik
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 11, 2013
The driving wedge separating middle class from the plutocrats is interest rate apartheid. Middle class is forced to incur 7%-21% interest rate while Bernanke's buddies get 0% loans, which is FREE MONEY otherwise known as THEFT. Banksters are growing richer from the wealth transfer from the lower classes
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (9) Aug 11, 2013
"The USA cannot come to terms with the salient facts staring us in the face: that we can't run things as we've set them up to run. We refuse to take the obvious actions to set things up differently. Instead, we've tried to offset the accelerating losses of running our unrunable stuff with accounting fraud, aimed at pretending that everything still works. But the accounting fraud has only accelerated the gathering disorder in the banking system. That disorder has infected our currency and the infection is spreading to all currencies. What a surprise that the first pandemic to strike an overstressed global immune system was not bird flu after all, but a sickness of money." http://kunstler.c...er-wind/
Grallen
5 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2013
Wow. It's like there is no one sane in these arguments sometimes.

Here's more crazy for you:

As technology advances human labor slowly become less valuable over all, because machines are competing for their work and charge far less to do it. This is a very slow process, but anyone can see that more and more jobs get automated.

Also, a very small number of people have most of the money that the starving masses seek.

These people do spend money, but due to automation, an increasing percentile is kept within this small group.

The average people will have less and less power/rights in the world as the energy/power/money condenses into the hands of these few.

The few will have more and more control. It's like the end of a game where one player has reached a point where the other players can only suffer out the rest of the game or capitulate. Except this game never ends.

The disparity will grow as long as the current system exists. I see no way of removing the current system.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2013
"Prices can fall for two reasons. One, customer demand falls, and one reason demand can fall is because people are conserving resources. The other reason price can fall is efficiency." - RyggTard

So according to Von-Mises Econommics prices can't fall because competitors enter the market?

Prices can't fall because produces alter their pricing strategy to maximize profits?

Prices can't fall because of an increase in the purchasing power of the purchaser's currency?

Prices can't fall because of a decrease in the purchasing power of the producer's currency?

Prices can't fall because producers have overestimated market demand?

Prices can't fall because producers have excess inventory?

Prices can't fall during times of economic deflation?

Perhaps we now see why the Chicago School of Economics has been such a disaster for America.

VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2013
"BHO as his policies are driving the cost of coal so high no one will buy it and miners are out of work." - RyggTard

The faster the dirty coal industry is put out of business the better.

The industry is the worst polluter and despoiler of nature and human health in the nation.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2013
"And now, govts are so capricious, businesses have no way to plan what the govt will do to them tomorrow." - RyggTard

Yup. Apple can hardly make a profit these days.

That is why they hire $4.00 a day labor in China.

Clearly more deregulation is needed to reduce American labor costs, Environmental standards, and workplace standards, to the same level as that of China.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2013
"Innovation drives a thriving economy." - RyggTard

We don't see much innovation coming from China.

Why is it's economy thriving?

Maybe because they undercut the production costs of the competition.

Once again, RyggTard's Randite comprehension of Economics is shown to be practically nill.

There is stupid, and then there is Randite Stupid.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2013
"I was in Leningrad in 1983. From what I could tell the people had plenty of money, but there were few products to purchase" - RyggTard

And then the Libertarian economists showed up and their "reforms" of the Soviet System caused dramatic food shortages, and a near famine

Chicago School Economics at it's best.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (6) Aug 12, 2013
"What's wrong with deflation? " - RyggTard

Moron.

Once again the Chicago School of Economics proves itself to be a failure.

Deflation my little Moron, causes two problems primarily.

The first is it produces a strong disincentive to purchase since delaying a purchase results in a lower price.

The second is that it increases the value of debt.since the amount owed is measured in dollars, but the value of the debt is measured in dollars x % deflation.

Both of these factors drive production toward and potentially below subsistence levels, and the Economy toward depression.

But then we know that Economic Depression is what the Republican's and Libertarians want for America.

"We need to manufacture an (economic) crisis in order to assure there is no alternative to a smaller government." - Jeb Bush - Impris Magazine, 1995
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (13) Aug 12, 2013
The driving wedge separating middle class from the plutocrats is interest rate apartheid. Middle class is forced to incur 7%-21% interest rate while Bernanke's buddies get 0% loans, which is FREE MONEY otherwise known as THEFT. Banksters are growing richer from the wealth transfer from the lower classes


And it is the result of socialism, NOT free markets.
GOVT controls the banks.
Socialism is causing the problem, why do you expect socialism to solve it?
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
"Obama took the country down this same road of using massive government spending to boost the economy back in 2009 with his $845 billion economic stimulus program. As Peter Ferrara explained last week in Forbes, five years later, it's clear that program failed, as the economy still hasn't regained all of the jobs lost during the previous recession and growth remains essentially stagnant: "Taxing or borrowing a trillion dollars out of the private sector to spend a trillion dollars in the public sector is not going to increase jobs or economic growth overall on net. At best, it will just shift jobs from where the market directs to where the government directs."
"A free-market economy is guided by consumer preferences, whereas government spending satisfies bureaucratic and political preferences. I"
http://washington.../2534095
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
"free-market economies are inherently wiser and more just than government-directed alternatives because the former represent the needs and wishes of hundreds of millions of people, while the latter impose the wishes of an elite few on the subservient many. Just ask the economic commissars in the defunct Soviet Union.

Obama has either ignored or never learned: "He has increased government spending, deficits and debt, which only drains the private sector of the resources to create good middle class jobs, and economic growth and prosperity. And he has cheerled a weak dollar Fed monetary policy that only chases off investors who don't want to invest in dollars that the Fed is depreciating over time." Obama has occasionally responded to such criticism by insisting that he is "pro-free market." This reminds of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's observation that "power is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."
http://washingtonexaminer.com
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2013
Capitalist paradise where top salaries vastly outpace middle-class salaries,

While I agree that that is a problem I don't think that's the real isssue here (there are other countries facing similar wage development without the problems addressed in the article).

The article seems to have honed in on the crucial point: With health care, tuition and other 'must have' items being left to open market forces the individual household has no way to plan. Open market forces will eventually lead to an "either/or" scenario as both sectors try to get as much out of the individual as they can.

While government programs seldom result in most efficient implementation they DO result in a guaranteed level of quality (by law). Market forces for must-have items just lead to exorbitant prices for minimal service.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 12, 2013
bush jrs 4 trillion dollar war crime
Hey VD if it wasn't for our willingness to defend your freedom, you'd be wearing a burqa by now. Would you like that?

Technology has rendered the traditional middle class superfluous. It has made them obsolete. It has replaced them with hardware and software which can perform their jobs much better than they.

What's left are the machine owners and the technicians who repair their machines. The vast tax revenues lost to automation now flow into the pockets of these owners and cities and countries across the world are going bankrupt as a result.

How can you drive a Ferrari over ruined highways? Ferrari owners will very soon have machines to repair their roads for them.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
With health care, tuition and other 'must have' items being left to open market forces the individual household has no way to plan.


This is the socialist's lie. They are NOT being left open to market forces. They are ALL controlled by the state and because they ARE controlled by the state there is NO way to plan.
guaranteed level of quality (by law).

How does any law guarantee quality? The UK is supposed to have quality health care, by law(?) yet people die of thirst waiting in hospital.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2013
" However, nobody has addressed the second reason for the recent mortgage market meltdown: flawed incentives."
"If wholesalers and brokers got paid only if the mortgage borrowers made their payments, I suspect that we would have fewer mortgages with repayment problems. Incentives matter and, for now, mortgage brokers and wholesalers still have incentives to make loans with no regard for the likelihood the borrower will make the payments. More good could be accomplished by changing these incentives than will be done with all the new banking regulations being proposed."
http://www.realcl...540.html
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2013
Applies everywhere, not just in Africa:
"Just recently drawing upon his Christian faith (and possibly the economics influence of Professor Ayittey?), in a speech at Georgetown University, Bono altered his economic and political views and declared that only capitalism can end poverty."
""Aid is just a stopgap," he said. "Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid. We need Africa to become an economic powerhouse.""
http://blog.indep...han-aid/

rwinners
1 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2013
. Any student of history will know that the greatest economic crises are no inflationary, but DEFLATIONARY.


What's wrong with deflation?
Under deflation, the value of money INCREASES, costs decrease. The computer industry has prospered and the world has prospered in an industry where costs fall everyday.
Inflation is the devaluation of the money which increases the prices and enables the govt to hide taxes.
Germany's fall in the 20s was due to INFLATION.
Recent US recessions are due to INFLATION.
Inflation only benefits the state, not the individual.


Deflation is totally unacceptable to government. Who cares about your opinion? Deflation reduces government income... dramatically.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2013
"Although market forces like increasing global demand and recent droughts have undoubtedly helped to push food prices higher, there is also little doubt that U.S. laws and regulations add insult to injury.
"Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office concluded in 2009 that U.S. ethanol policy was responsible for up to 15% of the total increase in domestic food prices, and benefited a small cabal of farmers and biofuel producers at the expense of American families and the economy more broadly.

Subsequent studies have confirmed the CBO's findings, and, with the RFS mandating ever-larger shares of ethanol in our gas tanks, things have only gotten worse.

Meanwhile, biofuels lobbyists and new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have worked to thwart congressional and regulatory efforts to relax the RFS and thereby ease the strain on consumers' wallets."
http://news.inves....htm?p=2
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 13, 2013
I noticed a couple of infantile notions here, one that the "republicans" are only to blame.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
Albert Einstein

And the other suggesting this the US is capitalist, clearly you need to reeducate yourself about the "isms". The way business and industry use the government for their own means suggests this is a fascist state with socialist undertones. Capitalism ended long, long ago, replaced with this mutant government the elitists foisted upon us.

"A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends."
Henry A. Wallace

Sounds like an Amerikan politician, and Vaginatard.
rwinners
1 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2013
However, consumption spending has risen most in four product categories that shape families' health, safety, and economic viability: health care, education, housing, and commuting costs.

So, the cost of 'living' has gone up, but the cost of all the other crap has gone down. WONDERFUL!
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2013
"Hey VD if it wasn't for our willingness to defend your freedom, you'd be wearing a burqa by now. Would you like that?" - Otto

I'm wearing a burqa now. Nice and cool, and it keeps the sand out of my teeth.
VendicarE
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2013
"So, the cost of 'living' has gone up, but the cost of all the other crap has gone down. WONDERFUL!" - Rwinners

What would that "other crap" be? The Cost of dying?

Nope, that has gone up too.
Claudius
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2013
Why does the American middle class continue to struggle financially?


Probably due to the "recovery".
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 13, 2013
The way business and industry use the government for their own means suggests this is a fascist state with socialist undertones.


You have it reversed.
It is the govt that uses business and industry to advance their power and control.

cantdrive85
2.2 / 5 (13) Aug 13, 2013
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"
― Benito Mussolini
There is no better description than what is currently going on with "Wall Street" and the military/intelligence complex. Not to mention the revolving doors of corps and gov't agencies.
rwinners
2.3 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2013
"So, the cost of 'living' has gone up, but the cost of all the other crap has gone down. WONDERFUL!" - Rwinners

What would that "other crap" be? The Cost of dying?

Nope, that has gone up too.


The other crap is the stuff we don't need but are sold. A new cell phone every 6 months... a tablet? "Services' galore. Three huge flat screens rather than 'just' one.

As for the cost of dying... I had a son cremated 8 years ago. It doesn't cost any more today than then.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 13, 2013
"Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Developing Regional Innovation Environments: A Workshop Summary gives an overview of the presentations, observations, and recommendations made during the workshop."
http://www.nap.ed...id=13391

Does the NAS advocate taxing innovation?

""There isn't a speech that any politician gives in which they don't mention the innovation economy," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, "and the fact that we are placing the most sweeping tax on the innovation economy is stunning."
http://www.boston...ory.html
That's why it's call taxachusetts.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 13, 2013
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"
― Benito Mussolini
There is no better description than what is currently going on with "Wall Street" and the military/intelligence complex. Not to mention the revolving doors of corps and gov't agencies.


I don't disagree, but don't blame businesses.
Attacking the corporations is typically what one socialist faction wants to do because they want to take control of the state. Fascism is socialism, too.
Anyone who truly wants to end corporatism must support limiting the power of the state, not trying to wrest and expand that power for themselves.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 13, 2013
""The sovereigns of cyberspace," like the all-powerful Skynet computer system in the "Terminator" series, are only recently focused on politics, and have concentrated largely in the Democratic Party (where the price of admission tends to be cheaper than in the old-money-dominated GOP). And it's not just money they are throwing at the game, but also the skillful political use of technology, as amply demonstrated in President Obama's re-election.

"What needs to be accepted, by both conservatives and liberals, is that privacy matters, as does the threat posed to democracy by oligarchy. Until people focus on the potential for evil before us and discuss ways to curb abuses, this small and largely irresponsible class, likely in league with government, will usher in not the promised cornucopia but a gilded-age reign of Big Brother."
http://www.newgeo...ligarchs
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
"The other crap is the stuff we don't need but are sold." - rwinners

Why are you purchasing crap?

"A new cell phone every 6 months... a tablet?" - rwinners

A fool and his money are soon parted.

"As for the cost of dying... I had a son cremated 8 years ago." - rwinners

Then I guess all those Tea-Tard blogs who claimed the opposite were just lying.

Typical.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
""The sovereigns of cyberspace," - RyggTard

Sounds like a bad Dr. Who episode title, but it is serious whining to spaced out Randites like RyggTard.

TardieBoy's next convulsive episode will be titled "The Freemen of Castrovalva" followed by "Paradise Towers of Planet Libertaria".

VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
"Does the NAS advocate taxing innovation?" - RyggTard

Members of the National Academy of Sciences are smart enough to know that doing so would require a metric exist for providing units to innovation.

RyggTard, being as bright as a tree limb, and as well grounded in reality as Charles Manson, is of course free to provide is measure for innovation.

He will continue to fail and amuse.
rwinners
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 13, 2013
"The other crap is the stuff we don't need but are sold." - rwinners

Why are you purchasing crap?

"A new cell phone every 6 months... a tablet?" - rwinners

A fool and his money are soon parted.

"As for the cost of dying... I had a son cremated 8 years ago." - rwinners

Then I guess all those Tea-Tard blogs who claimed the opposite were just lying.

Typical.


Wow. Full of hate, aren't you?
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
Anyone who truly wants to end corporate power of the stateo must support the end of Corporatism.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
"Wow. Full of hate, aren't you?" - rwinners

What part of "A fool and his money are soon parted" do you find hateful?
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
"Rising Above the Gathering Storm" - RyggTard

it is hilarious to Tea Bagger Retards like RyggTard whining about the evils of Statism on monday and then whining that the state needs to do more to protect Americans against the evil's of immigrants on Tuesday, and on Wednesday demanding that the state needs to act to improve American Competitiveness.

The Libertarian/ Randite solution offered by his ideological compatriots to the competitiveness problem has always been to destroy Unions and lower the wages of the American worker to whatever dollar per day it takes to be competitive with third world labor.

VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2013
"Fascism is socialism, too." - RyggTard

Is that why Fascism opposed socialism?

In reality Fascism is Libertarianism and Randism. This is made self evident from the hundreds of Libertarian stink tanks that exist to further the goals of Corporations at the expense of the freedom and Liberty of the people they dishonestly claim to serve.

The dishonest Cato institute and the filthy Competitive Enterprise Institute and the lying Heritage Foundation come immediately to mind.

cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 14, 2013
I don't disagree, but don't blame businesses.
Attacking the corporations is typically what one socialist faction wants to do because they want to take control of the state.

The rise in government in this country can be linked to 1913 with the creation of the Fed and the follow-up 16th Amendment. Business (the banking cartel) initiated central banking in this country, not for the benefit of the people but the banks and it's owners. And it's been shown, a very few banks own the lion share of the largest companies around the world. The creation Federal Reserve banking system was the end of the experiment of the Great Republic, usurped by a small cartel which has allowed them to wrest control of a large part of the planets wealth using counterfeit (fiat) monetary systems.

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!"
Nathan Meyer Rothschild

And ours is controlled by a fascist lot indeed. Blame to companies, because behind them are real people making decisions.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (10) Aug 14, 2013
Blame to companies, because behind them are real people making decisions.

The 16th amendment can be repealed.
The govt created the Federal Reserve and can dissolve it.
The govt stopped using gold for money.
The govt has the guns.
Socialists/'progressives' can't blame the govt since they want to control the govt and have controlled the govt for over 100 years.
rwinners
1 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2013
Blame to companies, because behind them are real people making decisions.

The 16th amendment can be repealed.
The govt created the Federal Reserve and can dissolve it.
The govt stopped using gold for money.
The govt has the guns.
Socialists/'progressives' can't blame the govt since they want to control the govt and have controlled the govt for over 100 years.


Yeah yeah... and we can dissolve the government and give control back to the Queen.... Get real.
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 14, 2013

The 16th amendment can be repealed.

Not unless you plan on declaring force majeure on like $60 trillion of debt.
The govt created the Federal Reserve and can dissolve it.

We saw how well the Ron Paul Experience went, not likely.
The govt stopped using gold for money.

By the bankers, for the bankers.
The govt has the guns.

No argument there. And they created a huge amount of debt to build them.
Socialists/'progressives' can't blame the govt since they want to control the govt and have controlled the govt for over 100 years.

Socialist policies are great for the bankers, nothing grows the public debt like socialism.

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."Woodrow Wilson
The largest companies (owned by banks) drive policies and regulation which snuffs competition, and grows government by default
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 14, 2013
I'm a free market libertarian type, but this idea companies are ideal structures without fault is as naive as putting all the blame on republicans or democrats for that matter.
"The money power preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of our country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic is destroyed." Abe Lincoln

"until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands" as old honest Abe said.

http://phys.org/n...rld.html
cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 14, 2013
I claim to be a libertarian, but it's probably more like what George Carlin said;
"Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck."
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 15, 2013
companies are ideal structures without fault is as naive

Lay blame where it should be placed, at the feet of the politicians.
Of course there will always be rent seeking companies, but if the govt does not have the power, the authority, to give 'rent', companies will have to pound sand.
Blaming companies plays into the hands of the fascists/socialists who want MORE control over companies and want MORE limits on free markets.
If all men were angels there would be no need for laws. those that make laws are no angels, so why should we expect them to make laws, the rules of the game, the won't benefit anyone who bribes them?
When the state's power is limited, bribes won't buy anything.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (8) Aug 15, 2013
Crony capitalists must be exposed, but it is the state that creates and nurtures crony capitalists.
Recall how Clinton sued Microsoft?
Microsoft at the time had no DC lobbyists. Gates didn't think he needed any so the govt had to knock him off down a peg or to and show him how the game is played.
Michel Kinsley wrote a great op-ed in the LA Times a few years ago. Look it up.
Google and the others learned that lesson by eagerly becoming cronies of the state.