Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Living Through a Disaster

Living Through a Flood "Event"

The victims of the Hurricane Irene disaster have a long haul ahead of them.   A friend of mine sent me a link to this blog about life during and after a natural disaster that spawned heavy flooding.


Anybody who has lived through such a disaster knows how essential FEMA is to help people getting back on their feet.  How could Ron Paul actually tell people we don't need FEMA? 

This disaster took place about three years ago, but she just "ended" her blog with a few thoughts for and about the people who are now living through the pain of recovery from Irene:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is Unemployment and Poverty in America?

Long-term unemployment and poverty are nothing new in America.

Long-term unemployment and poverty have always been with us in America, this great USA, but they are usually seen as a "life style" on the fringes of society; tucked away in the "bad" neighborhoods of the inner cities or in trailer parks and ramshackle homes in ex-urban and rural areas. 


People who have struggled with long-term unemployment, poverty, and/or homelessness in our country are usually seen as the same people who have struggled with drugs, alcohol, criminal records, mental health, disability, or lack of education and skills, perhaps, according to some,  "lack of self-control", "poor choices", not "working hard" or having too many kids.

The Stereotype of the Long-Term Unemployed:


This is the vision of poverty and unemployment that has plagued our country and has often kept poor people from getting the help and support that they need:
The belief that poor people have created their own fate and have refused to do whatever it might take to escape poverty.

My sense is that people who work with the poor have always known that that image of the poor is a gross generalization and not accurate for many millions. They probably have also known that many poor and marginal people work harder than most in the middle and upper classes.  But the belief that the poor have  "created their own destinies" is so set in the American soul and spirit that it is hard for the following alternate image of the poor to get any traction:  Struggling, hard-working people, beset at every turn, taking one step forward and often two steps back. 

The media picture of the poor is dominated by people who are criminals, druggies, addicts, alcoholics, or those who have too many kids while they do nothing but watch TV.  Think of the show "COPS".  Racism, of course, underlies much of the prejudice against the poor, but "poor white trash" has become part of our vernacular as well.

Lazy loafers or illegals taking American jobs?

It does seem as though the poor can't win:  On one hand, they are described and rejected as "lazy" and "irresponsible", on the other hand, if they are of Hispanic ethnicity, they are decried as "illegals who are taking American jobs".

I don't think we know how many poor people fit the stereotypes and how many are busy wheeler-dealers just trying to keep their heads above water.  However, this recession has allowed me to come closer and closer to the face of poverty as our family and as many of our friends struggle. 

Continue below..

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America's Poor: Lazy? Irresponsible? Dependent? 
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The real face of the New Poor (and some of the Old Poor):

I've written profiles of some of these people and some of these families.  As I said, I don't know how many of these people now fit the government's poverty guidelines, but all of them are relying on or have relied on government programs to get by either now or in the recent past.

Before you cast aspersions on the "Poor", the New Poor or the Old Poor, please read through these profiles:

Lazy Sponger Number 1:  Pizzas Don't Pay
Lazy Sponger Number 2:  Busy with Businesses
Lazy Sponger Number 3:  She Left her Bootstraps on the Bus
Lazy Sponger Number 4:  Grandpa Cuts Grass
Lazy Sponger Number 5:  Wounded Vet Wants Work
Lazy Sponger Number 6:  Disabled Wheeler Dealer 
I welcome stories from others:  People who have experienced both a "poor" life and a middle-class life and who will attest to the fact that people may well work harder when they are poor.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alternate Unemployment Rate for July is 18.1%

Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate Has Declined to 18.1% in July 2011 from 18.2% in June 2011.

Molly's seasonally-adjusted alternate unemployment rate is 18.1% for July 2011. It is down one-tenth (.1%) of a percent from the 18.2% of June 2011.
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Other current (October) updates at top of page
28,902,000, or almost 29 million people, are unemployed and want to work or underemployed (working part-time and wanting full-time work). This is down 274,000 people from the 29,176,000 who were unemployed and underemployed in June.

The details of Molly's alternate unemployment rate:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unemployed People: Lazy? Irresponsible? Spongers?

Are unemployed people lazy?


Long-term unemployment and poverty are nothing new in America.


Long-term unemployment and poverty have always been with us in America, this great USA, but it's usually been a "life style" on the fringes of society; tucked away in the "bad" neighborhoods of the inner cities or in trailer parks and ramshackle homes in ex-urban and rural areas. 

People who have struggled with long-term unemployment, poverty, and/or homelessness in our country are usually seen as the same people who have struggled with drugs, alcohol, criminal records, mental health, disability, or lack of education and skills, perhaps lack of self-control or too many kids.

The Stereotype of the Long-Term Unemployed:


This is the vision of poverty and unemployment that has plagued our country and has often kept poor people from getting the help and support that they need: 

Men losing more jobs in the Recession?

Are men still losing more jobs in this Recession?


Strange Days for the Man of the House:  


In the above article recently published in Huffington Post, psychologist Dr. Peggy Drexler talks about the demographics of the current recession and its effect on family dynamics and gender relationships.

Her article is based on the fact that men lost over 70% of the total jobs lost during this Great Recession.  She believes that such a shift in the demographics of the work force might indicate a change in the way men and women relate to each other.

She writes in part:
And so, the recession drags on. Nobody feels it more oppressively and relentlessly than the men who have been cast out of all those industries they called their own.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Poor: Lazy Loafers or Hard-Working Wheeler Dealers?



Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility" and stop sponging off of those rich "job creators". The rich job creators threaten to move all of the jobs offshore unless the poor start pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and stop sucking on the gub'mint's teat and asking for higher taxes.... 

We've been introducing some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well). We have been watching them as they suck on the government's teat while they laze on the couch.

There is nothing unusual about these stories. I personally have met all of these people, and I know enough about them to trust that their stories are basically true. There are millions of people like these people, people who came from middle class backgrounds, or people who worked themselves up from poor backgrounds, who worked, sometimes for decades, who have found themselves on the sidelines, empty and depleted, in this economy. 

Many have bright, cheery profiles on LinkedIn highlighting their current mini-business endeavors. You can't see their struggles on LinkedIn or even Facebook.

I don't know how many of these people would now fall under the official poverty level, but all of them have needed government assistance; many of them have had to move, a few have been in foreclosure, some have not had health insurance or health care, others have had utilities turned off. 

Some have had cars either break down or been booted due to parking tickets that couldn't be paid. Some with kids have qualified for the earned interest credit and/or Pell grants to get through college.

These people are of all races and ethnic backgrounds, though most of them are white. I'm not going to say which person is of what ethnicity.

I know the defenders of the rich will say that these people are exceptions; that most of the poor are content to laze around on the couch, eschew "personal responsibility", let the government take care of them, and have more kids than they can afford.

I'm sure there are poor people lazing around on the couch, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are a minority of the poor.. except for those who are seriously disabled and really can't move from that couch.

Since our family has started struggling in this recession, I have paid more attention to how the "poor" live, and, quite simply, many of them are more resourcefu­l and work harder than the still-midd­le class or the upper classes. They sell things they don't need, they scour garage sales and thrift stores, they do odd jobs, they do temp jobs, they barter, they learn how to fix things. Some seem to be constantly wheeling and dealing.

And here's a final story about someone I didn't know:

Lazy Sponger Number 6:  Disabled Wheeler Dealer
"My brother, who passed away 2 years ago, was disabled and received about 10K in Social Security a year. He did all of the above (selling stuff he didn't need, doing odd jobs, fixing stuff up, etc.). Wheeling and dealing was a way of life. Possession­s came and went with necessity. He did odd jobs as his health allowed. He cultivated friendship­s and would always help a neighbor because he knew at some point he may well need that neighbor's help. He searched thrift shops for hidden treasures, frequented yard sales, and ran many of his own yard sales.
Many of my friends and family either are poor or live right on that edge, not quite poor but not doing much more than barely getting by. This is a way of life for a large subsection of people and most others are completely unaware.”

And yet the rich will insist that they don't want to pay a dime more in taxes to support these lazy, useless deadbeats and welfare slobs.


Shame.

Lazy Sponger Number 5: Wounded Vet Wanting Work



Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility" and stop sponging off of those rich "job creators".  The rich job creators threaten to move all of the jobs offshore unless the poor start pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and stop sucking on the gub'mint's teat and asking for higher taxes.... 
We're introducing some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well).  We're watching them as they suck on the government's teat while they laze on the couch:
Lazy Sponger Number 5:  Wounded Vet Wanting Work    
  
Another bright young man, from an upper middle class background, found himself alienated and not doing well in high school. He barely got through high school, and, as Vietnam was calling, he enlisted before he was drafted, as he thought he might have more options.  He did go to Vietnam and was wounded, though not seriously. 

After getting out of the service, he struggled, worked odd jobs, tried to get himself back together; again, the story of so many who were in Vietnam in the 60's and 70's. Finally, after living here and there, after a marriage that didn't work out, he went back to school and got a nursing degree, an RN.

He did well, but he never really liked nursing. He was in psych nursing and, after a dozen years in the field, he was feeling burnt out and unsure. He decided to try something else for a while, figuring that he could always return to nursing.

He got a job selling retail electronics on a commission basis, and he discovered that he had a knack for sales. Within a year, he was making more, quite a bit more, selling cell phones and other electronic paraphernalia than he ever had as a nurse.  He quickly became the top salesman (out of several thousand) in the area, and life was great for several years.  

But then the cell phone and consumer electronics field got crowded. His employer started changing pay plans, cutting overtime, and every year he found himself making less and less.


He moved into management; he was again working 55+ hours a week, this time, however, without overtime pay because he was an "exempt" manager. He was still not making as much money as he had made as a top salesman 5 years earlier!



On top of it, he was no longer as young as he once was, and he started having health problems. A little bit of this; a little bit of that. A cold that he couldn't shake. A stomach upset that lasted a week. A bout of pneumonia. A twisted knee that required arthroscopic surgery. Shingles (even though he was supposedly too young for shingles.) A broken elbow tip from a fall. A bone contusion from banging his foot against something. He and his doctors thought his illnesses and accidents might be related to stress and overwork.

He wanted to find another job, but it's hard to look for work when you're working over 60 hours a week. His company had changed as well, and the older experienced bosses who had been with the company for years were being replaced by younger, less experienced bosses who seemed to not want the older long-time people around, as the company was promoting a new, "hip" image.  

And then, after a round of doctors to determine what was causing a new recurring pain, he was told he needed major surgery. He was out for three months, just as the recession hit. He came back to a different assignment with pay that had been reduced by 30% in violation of FMLA.  He was too weak to fight about it and he needed money.

He now had a different boss, however.  Still a younger guy, but a guy who really liked and respected him, and he did well for another year, racking up many sales awards for himself and his employees... until that boss was fired the next year.

The next boss, all of 25 years old, was hell personified. Because the economy was so bad, people redoubled their efforts and tried to keep their jobs. Threats of firings were constant and many did get fired.

Then he was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and was off of work for 2 months. When he came back, things were worse and he was in pain from the accident. On top of it, most of his staff had quit while he was off, and he had brand new people working for him.

He tried to keep up the pace, and did continue to get a number of sales mentions (the company had discontinued many of the sales rewards), but he needed a week off of work to deal with pain one month, and another week off two months later.

He was pretty sure that his firing time was near. He knew of several long-term people at his level, people who had been with the company for years, people who were over 40, most over 50, who were fired in a two week period for various spurious reasons. He wasn't terribly surprised when he was terminated a couple of weeks later.

Fifteen years of experience and a wall of sales award plaques in his living room and he faced unemployment for the first time in decades. His group was tops in sales in his area for the month on the day he was fired... despite the constant chronic pain that plagued him.  (And the stock of this company, despite all of the repackaging and firing and new young, inexperienced employees, has kept going down, even when the rest of the market had been going up.)


He is still on unemployment, but, as he is in pain and can't lift much, he hasn't been able to find work. He knows he can't work 55 hour-a-week jobs, and it seems that is all there are out there.


He's been out of nursing very long and would need to completely requalify... He can't lift patients and can't lift his arms above his head, so he doesn't think he could possibly make it through a recertification course. He's got attorneys working on getting a settlement from the accident, and he is going to see what it would take for him to get on disability if he still can't find an appropriate job before his unemployment runs out.


A relative died and left him a small inheritance just after he was terminated, but it's not very big and it is running out fast. He's going to check into food stamps, heat, and housing assistance. He has sold a few things, and he wants to work on an eBay business with a friend, but he is often in too much pain to be very productive.


He is very concerned about what he will do for medical care when his COBRA runs out. He's heard he might be able to get treatment through the VA, but he's also heard that he won't qualify and the VA is cutting back. He is still several years away from early Social Security.


He can do a desk job, or perhaps a sales job that doesn't involve lifting, setting up displays, etc., but there aren't that many jobs around for healthy young sales people, much less an older salesman with a deformed arm.


A wounded veteran:  Though his wounds didn't cause his current disability, should we ever have a situation in this country in which wounded war veterans fear being out on the street? Or simply can't find suitable work?  Don't we owe these vets something? 

Lazy Spongers Continued here...

The Poor: Lazy Loafers? or Hard-Working Wheeler Dealers?


Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility" and stop sponging off of those rich "job creators".  The rich job creators threaten to move all of the jobs offshore unless the poor start pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and stop sucking on the gub'mint's teat and asking for higher taxes.... 
We're introducing some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well).  We're watching them as they suck on the government's teat while they laze on the couch:
Lazy sponger Number 4:  Grandpa Cuts Grass

The young man grew up in a dirt poor neighborhood on the "wrong side of the tracks". He was very bright, did well in school, went to college on a scholarship, and graduated with honors. Vietnam started up just as he was finishing school and he was drafted. When he left the Army and came home, he struggled to "find" himself, which was the story of so many vets who returned from Vietnam in the 60's and early 70's. 

After a series of odd jobs, a broken marriage, and a stint in graduate school, he got a job as a computer programmer trainee, and quickly rose through the ranks. Back in the early 90's, he was making a six figure salary, owned property, was married and had children. But he was 50; his company was preparing to sell itself, and he was pushed out the door. 

He decided to use his savings and some of his pension fund to start a business, as he had always wanted to work for himself. It just didn't go well for a number of reasons, and he poured good money after bad into it..

He became more and more depressed, things weren't going well with his wife, who was working while he was often sleeping night and day, letting his employees run his business. Not a good idea. 

He tried to find a "regular" job, but with qualifications as a business owner and a corporate manager (not to mention being over 50), he was "overqualified". He did get a real estate license, and was able to make a little money doing that. He finally closed down his business; taking major losses, and he and his wife sold a property.  But they did wind up in divorce court.  He still did not have any regular income; they had been living off of equity from the property they sold, and that didn't last that long.

During the divorce, he lived in several places, each one smaller than the last, and was homeless for a few nights here and there.  There was little left for his wife and he to split. After he divorced, he moved in with his new girlfriend; she basically supported him while he tried to find steady work... for two years. He did make a little money selling real estate.  He "tried out" for a job selling insurance but was let go. He did the training for preparing income taxes and did that for a couple of springs. It was not a lot of money, however, and clients were few and far between as more and more people were using online programs to do their taxes.

Finally, through a friend, he got a lead on a job in another state.  He got the job, initially on a temp basis, and he moved there.  His girlfriend (now his wife) followed and got a job. Both of their jobs were in construction-related fields, and things were going well for a couple of years. But we know how that ended. He lost his job, then her job was cut back to part-time, then she lost it altogether. They had bought a home for cheap after the real estate crash, but they didn't expect that prices would continue to decline so acutely. A year later the house was worth only a fraction of what they paid for it; the entire subdivision was empty; they were both out of work and couldn't pay the mortgage. They walked away from their home.

They had started selling stuff on eBay during the early 2000's; they decided to ramp that up. They both have worked odds and ends, done "projects" for pay; they've bartered, they've "wheeled and dealed". He took early Social Security; but her unemployment ran out, and they are working an incredible number of hours a week just to keep their heads above water with the eBay business. They are up at dawn a few days a week to get to the garage sales and the thrift stores early.

He's now in his mid 60's but he mows grass for a few neighbors, some younger than he is, to make a few bucks. He is grateful that he finally qualifies for Medicare and can again see a doctor regularly. His wife won't be eligible for early Social Security for 5 or 6 years. 


Lazy Sponger Number 5:  Wounded Vet Wanting Work    
  
Another bright young man, from an upper middle class background found himself alienated and not doing well in high school. He barely got through high school, and, as Vietnam was calling, he enlisted before being drafted.  He thought he might have more options.  He did go to Vietnam and was wounded, though not seriously. 

After getting out of the service, he struggled, worked odd jobs, tried to get himself back together; again, the story of so many who were in Vietnam in the 60's and 70's. Finally, after living here and there, after a marriage that didn't work out, he went back to school and got a nursing degree.


Lazy Sponger 5: Wounded Vet Wants Work

Poverty in America: She Left her Bootstraps on the Bus



Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility".  They need to stop sponging off of those rich "job creators"!  
Meet some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well).  We're watching them sponge off of others,  show no "personal responsibility", and demonstrate how little they value money and how dependent they are on the government:


Lazy Sponger Number 3:  She Left her Bootstraps on the Bus

A young woman had two children out of wedlock at a young age. It created a life of struggle for her, but she vowed to work hard and not pass a life of struggle on to her kids. She worked for a large retailer, but pay slightly above minimum wage doesn't go that far when you have two kids to raise.


She realized she would have to go back to school to get some kind of skill, and she went to school on the weekends and worked during the week. That didn't go over well with her retailer employer which insisted that full-time staff work on the weekends. As a result, her hours dropped down to 34 a week, the fewest that one could work and still be considered "full-time". The automatic scheduling system often scheduled her for difficult hours, a few hours in the morning, then several hours off, and then a few hours in the afternoon. As she traveled by bus, it added hours a day to her working day, and working a split shift was just something she really couldn't do.  Her boss would try to fix her hours, but he often got grief from his boss, as the automatic scheduling system was to be left alone.

But with fewer hours and ever-decreasing pay (due to changing pay policies of her employer), she did qualify for food stamps, housing, energy assistance.(In other words, the government was subsidizing her employer who didn't pay her enough on which to live.) 

She did not do well in school; she feels due to the pressure of kids, work, and school, and she has not yet been able to finish her program. She finally found a different job, still just a bit above minimum wage, but without the pressures of her old job. She's still not getting ahead, but at least this job seems to be less stressful, and the hours aren't as capricious.


Lazy sponger Number 4:  Grandpa Cuts Grass

The young man grew up in a dirt poor neighborhood on the "wrong side of the tracks". He was very bright, did well in school, went to college on a scholarship, and graduated with honors. Vietnam started up just as he was finishing school and he was drafted. 

When he left the Army and came home, he struggled to "find" himself, which was the story of so many vets who returned from Vietnam in the 60's and early 70's. 

After a series of odd jobs, a broken marriage, and a stint in graduate school, he got a job as a ...

Lazy Sponger Grandpa Cuts Grass Continued HERE

The Poor: Lazy, Deadbeats, Welfare Slobs?



Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility".  They need to stop sponging off of those rich "job creators"!  
Meet some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well).  We're watching them sponge off of others,  show no "personal responsibility", and demonstrate how little they value money and how dependent they are on the government:

Lazy sponger Number 2:  Busy with Businesses

Another man, now in his early 60's, grew up in the "projects." He worked his way through school, got a job programming computers in the 70's and worked in IT for several decades. He did reasonably well and worked steadily. 

He had a son, but that marriage didn't last. Other family members struggled, and he was always generous with them, with his sister and his mother, in particular. He remained very involved in his son's life and always paid his child support. 

He married again and had children in the mid 90's. His wife was a college-educated professional; they bought a modest home and things were going well.

He worked during the late 90's as a consultant on several Y2K projects. After the dot.com bust and the end of the Y2K fixes, assignments became harder and harder for him to come by as many companies off shored their IT people, and as "new technologies" replaced the older technologies that he knew. 


He started a small home-based business selling insurance. He made an income and he was able to be home with his kids. Eventually his mother's health went downhill, and they took her in. Her social security check did help the family meet their bills. 


Then the recession hit. Overnight, almost all of his customers just went away. He looked for temporary or full-time work and couldn't find any. He was hired for the Census, but, after they did their background check, a 40+ year old arrest record (not a charge or a conviction) came back to haunt him. He couldn't work until it was straightened out, and by the time that happened, the Census work was over. 


Meanwhile, back in late 2009 or early 2010, his wife (now in her 50's) lost her job. She worked in a construction-related field. They are both trying to find jobs; both developing small business ideas; she's written a couple of eBooks and has a couple of online businesses going. They are trying to keep their heads above water and pay the bills. 


Grandma's dementia, however, got worse last winter and she could no longer stay in their home. She is now in a nursing home. So there went Grandma's social security check, which was helping them to pay their bills.  The wife's unemployment will run out soon, and they are desperately trying to get some income regular going before it goes away. He will soon turn 62 and will probably have to take early social security. He's still completely healthy and he would much rather have a job. 



Lazy Sponger Number 3:  She Left her Bootstraps on the Bus

A young woman had two children out of wedlock at a young age. It created a life of struggle for her, but she vowed to work hard and not pass a life of struggle on to her kids. She worked for a large retailer, but pay slightly above minimum wage doesn't go that far when you have two kids to raise. 


She realized she would have to go back to school to get some kind of skill, and she went to school on the weekends and worked during the week.


More here:  Lazy Sponger Number 3:  She Left Her Bootstraps on the Bus

The New Poor: Lazy Spongers Pizzas Don't Pay

We're examining the new face (or perhaps the same old face) of poverty in America.  We're watching many of the New Poor and some of the Old Poor as they sponge off of others,  show no "personal responsibility", and demonstrate how little they value money:



Lazy Sponger Number 1:   Pizzas don't Pay. 


A man now in his late 30's grew up with a welfare mom who was ill and rarely worked during his childhood. He struggled as a young man, dropped out of high school but eventually got a GED. He worked a series of low-wage jobs, but did take classes and managed to get a real estate license. He wasn't particularly successful in real estate, unfortunately, and left the business. 

Finally he discovered he had a knack for computers. He took some classes, and created a small business for himself with 5 or 6 regular small-business clients. He was doing reasonably well, adequately providing for himself, when the recession hit. One by one, his clients stopped calling him due to their cutbacks, and, one by one, most of them closed their doors. He had no unemployment insurance to fall back on, so he returned to one of his earlier gigs:   Delivering pizzas. 

Things had changed, though, in pizza delivery land since he had delivered pizzas a decade or more earlier. He says that he used to be able to make as much as $500 a week delivering pizzas, due to an hourly wage, tips, and a stipend per pizza delivered. But now most pizza places were paying their delivery people as 1099 contract workers, paying them very small hourly "on call" stipends and, other than that, the delivery person only gets tips. And tips are down these days. He was lucky to make $200 most weeks.

Last summer he had a stroke. Undiagnosed and uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension contributed to his stroke as he hadn't had any health insurance or health care for several years. He couldn't pay the medical bills, even though he had been treated in a county hospital, so he had to declare bankruptcy.

His car broke down just as he was recovering and he couldn't afford to fix it. Finally a family member helped him out with the purchase of and repairs to another older car. He did find out that he was eligible for food stamps and energy assistance, and he found a doctor at a free clinic to treat him for his medical conditions. 

Now he is delivering pizzas, but he doesn't make much doing it, and he got a job working at McDonald's part-time on their clean up crew. He's trying to resurrect his business when he has the time, but he isn't having much luck. And many potential clients want to pay half of what they were paying a few years back for similar work. On top of it, he now badly needs dental care and that doesn't help when he is trying to make an impression meeting clients. 

Lazy Sponger Number 2:   Busy with Businesses    

Another man, now in his early 60's, grew up in the "projects." He worked his way through school, got a job programming computers in the 70's and worked in IT for several decades. He did reasonably well and worked steadily. 

He had a son, but that marriage didn't last. Other family members struggled, and he was always generous with them

Read more here:

America's Poor: Lazy, Irresponsible, Dependent?


Update 9/21/2012:  This series of articles was written in August 2011, over a year before Mitt Romney's infamous comments about 47% of the American people who don't pay taxes, don't take personal responsibility, and who are victims became public.  We start with a study that shows that the rich are indeed different from the rest of us, and jump to stories of people, most of them college educated, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, who have found themselves now poor or near poor.. and how they are coping.

Verbal Class Warfare has started in the U.S., and it's not pretty. 
 



From Sott.net

Verbal class warfare has actually been around for awhile but it's getting more heated as the issues surrounding taxes and government spending become more heated. "The poor are lazy, they don't work hard; they eschew "personal responsibility", they've learned to be dependent." That's a fairly common line from those who believe that the well-off already carry too much of the burden.



A recent study seems to suggest that the rich are different:  That they are less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.


From an article about the study on the rich from MSNBC:
Now psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.
In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ceilings and defaults that are now roiling the stock market is partly rooted in an upper class "ideology of self-interest"
In other words, rich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
In the comments to this article, someone objects: 
"...and this isn't true? Individual behavior and a good work ethic don't help one succeed? I don't see anything wrong with that.
When you are given something that you didn't earn (welfare), of course you don't place the same value on money that someone that worked hard and earned it does.
The way I read this, the wealthier are driven toward personal responsibility, and the lower class looks to others to be responsible for them.
Maybe if the lower class started learning a little personal responsibility we wouldn't have this gap."
Could he be right?  Is the problem that the poor, both the "New Poor" and the "Old Poor" need to learn "personal responsibility"?  Perhaps they do need to stop sponging off of those rich "job creators"  and "earn their money"?  

Here's the face of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor"). 


Let's watch them sponge off of others,  show no "personal responsibility", and demonstrate how little they value money:




Lazy Sponger Number 1:   Pizzas don't Pay. 


A man now in his late 30's grew up with a welfare mom who was ill and rarely worked during his childhood. He struggled as a young man, dropped out of high school but eventually got a GED. He worked a series of low-wage jobs, but did take classes and managed to get a real estate license. He wasn't particularly successful in real estate, unfortunately, and left the business. 

Finally he discovered he had a knack for computers. He took some classes, and created a small business for himself with 5 or 6 regular small-business clients. More here:


Lazy Spongers Continued here:  Pizzas Don't Pay

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How Many New Jobs Were Created in 2011 (July update)?

How many jobs were created in all of 2011, from December 2010 to July 2011?  Have jobs been lost in 2011?

  • In seasonally adjusted numbers, 930,000 jobs have been created in 2011.  That's 132,857 a month.
  • In "raw" unadjusted numbers, 130,000 jobs have been lost in 2011.  That's 18,570 a month.
How many private-sector jobs were created in all of 2011, from December 2010 to July 2011?  Have private-sector jobs been lost in 2011?

Friday, August 5, 2011

What was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office (Update for July 2011)?


February 2013 jobs numbers will be released late this month, on Friday, March 8th.  Please check back then for all reports and updates.  


What was the unemployment rate when Obama took office?  
7.8%  


How high did it go? Keep reading..

Latest Unemployment & Jobs Reports Links HERE


July 2011 updates are below.  For current updates, please click one of the links above.


The Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office: 
  • For the record, when Obama took office in January 2009, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers was 7.7%, with 11,919,000 people reported themselves as unemployed and actively looking. 
  •  In "raw" numbers not adjusted for seasonal variance, the unemployment rate was 8.5% with 13,009,000 people reporting themselves as unemployed and actively looking for work.


The Unemployment Rate at its Peak: 
  • At the "trough" (bottom in terms of jobs) of the recession in late 2009/early 2010, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers climbed to 10.1% in October 2009 with 15,612,000 people (out of a labor force of 153,854,000) reporting themselves as unemployed.  
  • In "raw" numbers not adjusted for seasonal variance, the unemployment rate reached a peak of 10.6% in January 2010 with 16,147,000 (out of a labor force of 152,957,000) reporting themselves as unemployed and actively looking for work.


The Unemployment Rate Now:
  • Now, in July 2011, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers is 9.1% with 13,931,000 (out of a labor force of 153,228,000) unemployed and actively looking for work. 
  • In unadjusted "raw" numbers the unemployment rate has remained at  9.3%.  In "raw" real numbers, 14,428,000 (out of a labor force of 154,812,000) are unemployed and actively looking for work.


To Summarize:
  • Using seasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate was 7.7% (and rising quickly) when Obama took office, and it is 9.1% today.  
  • Using nonseasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate was already 8.5% when Obama took office, and it is 9.3% today. 
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