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No. of Recommendations: 23
"Forty years ago, a waitress could afford college. A school teacher could support a family of four on one income. A bank teller could own a home.

None of that is possible today. People are worn down. They call it lazy and asking for handouts, when all we’re asking for is something worth working for, and a fair opportunity to succeed and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Enough is enough."

This is a truth the Republicans simply refuse to acknowledge. The gap between the employer and the employee has become so wide that the ability of ordinary workers in ordinary jobs to support their families on a single paycheck has absolutely disappeared in any but the most white-collar of jobs.

A living wage is not a "handout," and when families have almost no time in life to live -- no time for anything other than work, these are not "jobs." It's indentured servitude. It is the employer agreeing only to provide enough out of the wealth produced by their workers to keep the workers alive and producing -- but not enough to have lives beyond that. Wages have long since stopped having any real relationship to the value the labor they supposedly are meant to represent. Virtually all of the wealth produced goes to the capital of the owner(s), and the barest minimum to the labor without which the capital would be useless.

This has always been a feature of capitalism, not a bug -- and the only protection against this informal system of indentured servitude is government stepping in between the employer and his employees and imposing rules about how much blood and sweat the employer can actually demand for the employee's right to merely survive.

Raise the freaking minimum wage, Congress! If you make a profit and pay your employees more than subsistence pay, they you don't deserve to run a business. The world doesn't need more billionaires. It needs more workers who don't need charity because their jobs pay enough to ensure a decent, productive life, with adequate leisure time, adequate health care, adequate compensation for the value they provide to both capital and society at large with their labor.

The problem with capitalism, unchecked, isn't that it fails to produce the best goods and services -- though it often does fail to produce real value for customers (another feature of the built-in role of greed in the system), but, even more -- that it lacks a truly moral means by which to distribute the wealth produced. It gives all the power to capital, and virtually none to labor. Hunger becomes the prime motivator for one class and selfishness the prime motivator for the other. It's purely immoral, and we've been pretending for far too long that because capitalism is pretty good at producing, it doesn't really matter that it sucks at distribution -- that some of the wealth, at least, will "trickle down," to use that horrific image of true greed, to those "below." Enough, at least, to keep body and soul together long enough to provide profits for their masters.

The moment your money is bringing in more income than your labor, and you still own a "business" (or are invested in one) you've effectively become a slave-owner. That includes myself -- and all of us operating in a system designed to produce exactly this imbalance of power.

SLL
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No. of Recommendations: 2
"Forty years ago, a waitress could afford college."

True enough as attractive loan programs like NDSL were available. Such programs need to be resurrected and made more available, along with various flexible payment programs (NOT "free college").

"A school teacher could support a family of four on one income."

I suppose this might have been true somewhere, but I lived in a very low-cost area and no way was that true even fifty years ago. In fact, many teachers with children had working spouses and/or side jobs.

"A bank teller could own a home."

I can't comment directly on this, but high school education folks acted as tellers and treated about as well as cashiers so I doubt it.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
No. of Recommendations: 0
"Forty years ago, a waitress could afford college."

True enough as attractive loan programs like NDSL were available. Such programs need to be resurrected and made more available, along with various flexible payment programs (NOT "free college").


More significantly, when I attended UCLA, my tuition per quarter was $80.00. That's right. $80.00 for a three-month quarter. I could buy used books at the university bookstore, and pay my share of the $75.00/month rent in our Westwood apartment while working part-time in a Brentwood law office as a file clerk.

I never had to borrow a dime, and carried 21 units per quarter, and earning my bachelor's degree easily one full quarter less than the traditional four years.

This system -- not merely the costs of college -- but the entire economic system has become so unbalanced that the nation's wealth has been largely funneled to a few extremely rich, extremely powerful families, and the vast majority are clinging to survival by their fingernails. It's not that we need better loan programs. It's that we -- the entire country, and probably the entire world -- need an economic system which is balanced between the value produced by capital and the value produced by labor, so that the whole notion of "choice" -- so hypocritically valued by the right -- exists for everyone, not merely those with large hoards of capital.

Health care. Education. Decent housing. Transportation. Easy access to healthy foods. These are things which all human beings need and to which all human beings, in any moral system, would be entitled simply by virtue of being human beings. Anyone who works 40 hours a week should be guaranteed these things at least. If you want a freaking yacht -- then you either have to work harder or you have to have been born lucky. But for the basic necessities of life -- these are rights in any system purporting to be "moral."

SLL
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No. of Recommendations: 13
Forty years ago, a waitress could afford college. A school teacher could support a family of four on one income. A bank teller could own a home.

None of that is possible today.


Is any of that true?

In 1980, the average cost of tuition, room, board and fees at college was about $9,400, and the average annual salary for a waitress was about $9,000. Today, average salary for a waitress is about $27,000, and average cost for college is about $24,000. Then, as now, it cost about a year's wages as a waiter/waitress for a an average year of college.

Average teacher salary today is about $60,000 per year - which is about 12% less than median household income of $68,000, and adequate to support a family of four. In 1980, average teacher salary was only about $18,000 - which was about 15% less than median household income of $21,000.

A bank teller in 1980 could expect to earn about $8,000 per year; today, that's about $30,000. Median sales price for a single family home today is about $330K, compared to about $50K back in 1980. But homes are bigger, and mortgage rates are vastly lower (average mortgage rates were about 13% back in 1980).

So, no. A waitress is just as able to afford college today as they were in 1980. A teacher still can support a family of four on one income. And a bank teller is probably in as good a position to afford a single family home today as in 1980.

Links:

https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1986/09/rpt1full.pdf
https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes353031.htm#nat
https://www.businessinsider.com/this-chart-shows-how-quickly....

https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/average-teacher-s...
https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_078.asp
https://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-132.pdf

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112104418816&a...
https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/bank-teller-salary-SRCH_K...
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/how-much-housing-prices-have....
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No. of Recommendations: 0
This is a diseased mindset to think this way.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Businesses start from zero, someone or some group invests their own money, or leverage their homes and assets to borrow the money, etc. Just for the opportunity to take a risk that most people will not take.

These risk takers win some but lose more, more businesses fail than succeed.

For those that succeed, the risk takers "ARE OWED" the fruits of their risk and pay people accordingly for their labor to support the business.

What anti capitalists fail to realize is even successful businesses have bad years, its not auto profit every day, every week, every month, every year. You can make a million one year and lose $750,000 each for the next two years, before returning to profitability the year after that. You can't go an give everyone raises because you made a million in one year, that just significantly raises your SGA permanently for the next year, which in the ups and downs of markets and businesses increases the losses in bad cycles.

The left in particular try to get everyone to view all businesses as fortune 500 companies, if everyone views all businesses that way then they will have the world view that all businesses are making millions, every year, with greedy millionaire CEO's, etc. that take the money and won't share it. That is far from the truth in the real world. Most businesses are small to medium sized, these small and medium sized businesses are who are employing the masses, not the large companies. So it is wrong to say employees need massive pay increases because that is death to the majority of small and medium sized businesses out there who cannot raise their SGA significantly year to year as margins fluctuate yearly (win some years, lose some years). It's a seesaw in reality, not static auto millions.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Wealth inequality is the single most significant barrier to bettering our society. The size of the gap between the haves and the have nots literally determines how much damage is done. The larger the gap, the larger and more serious are the societal problems that accompany it. We are doing this to ourselves, and have the power to change it.

The single best discussion I have ever seen on this topic is this one;

https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson_how_economic_ine...

Data driven, clearly explained, and the negative effects to our lives and societies are undeniable. This is not sustainable.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Again,

Fail!

All of these liberal studies and lectures try to set the narrative that "all businesses" make millions, this narrative traps people into believing all businesses are making millions and can afford to pay people more.

These type lectures/studies take the most extreme cases of large wealthy corporations then paints a broad brush across that this is the reality everywhere, all the time, which is far from the truth.

The vast majority of workers are employed by small and medium sized companies who fluctuate year to year with profit and losses, these businesses are not auto profit every day, week, month, year.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
More significantly, when I attended UCLA, my tuition per quarter was $80.00. That's right. $80.00 for a three-month quarter. I could buy used books at the university bookstore, and pay my share of the $75.00/month rent in our Westwood apartment while working part-time in a Brentwood law office as a file clerk.

I never had to borrow a dime, and carried 21 units per quarter, and earning my bachelor's degree easily one full quarter less than the traditional four years.


Basically the same here, except four years of undergrad and three years of seminary did leave me with $4000 in student debt, that I paid off in about 4 years.

Now those debt levels are astronomical for recent grads- especially those serving as baristas at Starbucks

Tuition at the public university I attended 1967-68 was $12/credit hour. Then I transferred to a private University and thought I was getting robbed when tuition there rose to $36/credit hour.

Yes, I worked my way through school, but that’s not an option for most college students these days- unless they are willing to assume a crushing debt load.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Yeah, I think you're not calculating cost of living back then vs now.

Every. Single. Iota of your life is now monetized in a way it has not historically.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Yeah, I think you're not calculating cost of living back then vs now.

While largely true- the cost of education has risen much faster than overall price inflation, while real wages have fallen.

I was able to pay back $4000 in student in just a few years.

But I routinely speak with young adults today who have loan balances of 50,000 to 150,000.

And no- most didn’t get degrees in gender studies or English lit.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
The legacy of GOP Reagan's anti-union politics.

Ken
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Sandy, I would like to quote this entire post in the Master Directory to Universal Basic Income.

Let me know if you have a problem with that.

I can make it anonymous or credit "Sandyleelee".

Peter
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No. of Recommendations: 0
In 1961 the cost of a four-year education including room and board at the University of Virginia paying out-of-state tuition was less than $5000. $1200 per year.

Peter
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Bill: "But I routinely speak with young adults today who have loan balances of 50,000 to 150,000."

You hang out with a very exclusive group.

What is the typical debt load for graduates of four-year public universities?

About 42 percent of students at four-year public universities finished their bachelor’s degree* without any debt and 78 percent graduated with less than $30,000 in debt. Only 4 percent of public university graduates left with more than $60,000. And those with over $100,000 in debt are rarer still: they are anomalies representing less than half of 1 percent of all four-year public university undergraduates completing their degrees.

https://www.aplu.org/projects-and-initiatives/college-costs-...
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Peter -- By all means. No problem.

SLL
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No. of Recommendations: 2
In 1980, the average cost of tuition, room, board and fees at college was about $9,400, and the average annual salary for a waitress was about $9,000. Today, average salary for a waitress is about $27,000, and average cost for college is about $24,000. Then, as now, it cost about a year's wages as a waiter/waitress for a an average year of college.

I don't know about your analysis for the other items, but I'm not buying this.

First, if you look at Sandy's comment, there were extremely affordable options available in 1980 that are essentially non-existent today. $80/term at UCLA--I'll assume that was when California still had great in-state tuition rates.

The graph in this article I believe accurately reflects the situation. Tuition and fees are corrected for 2019 dollars and we see public schools are now roughly 4X more expensive than they were in 1980. Private schools even more so.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/27/a-growing-number-of-colleges...

Meanwhile, real earnings for the bottom 90% have increased about 24% since 1979:
https://www.epi.org/publication/swa-wages-2019/

This also doesn't account for how the balance of grants vs. student loans has changed in the past 40 years. I don't have time to do the research right now, but my guess is that grants covered more then than they do now.

On a private note, people ask me whether I want my son to attend university in France (where my wife is from) or the USA. I looked up tuition at French public universities. 170 Euro per year. I think he'll do just fine with a French education.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Proceeding.

>>If you make a profit and pay your employees more than subsistence pay, they you don't deserve to run a business.<<

I think I should make this edit.

[If you make a profit and don't pay your employees more than subsistence pay, then you don't deserve to run a business.]

Peter
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No. of Recommendations: 3

I think I should make this edit.

[If you make a profit and don't pay your employees more than subsistence pay, then you don't deserve to run a business.]


Thanks, Peter. My fingers are faster than my brain. Or something.

SLL
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No. of Recommendations: 0
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q2J0Sp8Nh_0CCeeo7e3h3cmm...

Here is the expanded Inequality topic. Still in draft mode at this point.

Peter
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No. of Recommendations: 3
This is the obvious solution, but it is almost certainly never going to happen, Peter.

The problem with capitalism is that greed is built into the system as the prime motivator. The greediest who also possess capital and cunning and ruthless disregard for anything but the quest for "success" not only tend to be those who arrive at the top, economically -- they become the power structure for the entire system, both economic and political. And the political arm, kept in ersatz "power" by permission of the real power -- wealth and those who hold it -- will certainly not allow the system to reduce their ability to amass more wealth and more power.

The more likely scenario is that the system will collapse, in the end, of its own weight. It will cease to be "capitalism" but will become pure feudalism, and then will spiral downward into full indentured servitude and eventual revolution. Because human beings will allow the system to degrade and use them, to impoverish and humiliate and torture them for only so long before the dam of anger and fear breaks and their greater numbers prove a power greater than their masters.

Of course, this won't be the Russian or the French revolution. This time, the consequences really will depend upon which side the military takes in the battle between those who exploit and dominate and those who have been exploited and dominated.

Such is the power today of the rich that we can't even get their servants - the Republican Party - to agree to helping 1/3 of Americans not become homeless in the middle of a pandemic. They claim that "the recovery" isn't in danger, so help is not needed -- and by "the recovery" they mean Wall Street profits. Those homeless Americans are irrelevant to them. Absolutely, totally irrelevant. They aren't afraid of Donald Trump. THEY ARE DONALD TRUMP.

SLL
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No. of Recommendations: 0
UBI may happen in other countries.

Peter
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No. of Recommendations: 1
UBI may happen in other countries.

I think it is effectively inevitable here as well. We just haven't figured it out yet.
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