Is This the Future We Are Making for Our Children?

by James Glaser
February 28, 2007

My parents grew up during the depression of the 1930's, and all through their lives they were trying to make America a better place for their children. I grew up in the 50's, going to high school in the 60's, and things were better for me and my generation.

I think that while growing up, my generation had the idea that things in the United States would just get better and better for those who followed us, but it hasn't worked out that way. Many economists will tell you that the average worker's buying power peaked sometime during the 70's, and I see that today that proves true.

In 1976, I was taking home $408.00 a week working construction in International Falls, Minnesota.

Using an inflation calculator, I would need to take home $1,476.84 a week to have the same buying power today as I had back in 1976. Sad to say there are carpenters today in Tallahassee Florida, who take home what I took home thirty years ago, and in some cases they take home less. Here is what I found carpenters were making today according to Salary Wizard. The pay they list for a Carpenter works out to $702.30 a week. I would guess that is gross pay. Either way, it is less than half of what a carpenter today would have to make to have the buying power I had thirty years ago.

    The median expected salary for a typical Carpenter I in the United States is $36,520. This basic market pricing report was prepared using our Certified Compensation Professionals' analysis of survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at employers of all sizes, industries and geographies.

It is a shame that the American media does not cover stories about the working man in this country as well as the foreign press does. Here is a report on our workers from the United Kingdom. This report confirms just how far and how fast the working men and women in America are falling behind what their parents made.

    Published on Tuesday, February 27, 2007
    by the Independent / UK

    Poverty Gap in US Has Widened under Bush
    by Andrew Gumbel

    The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data.

Think about trying to make ends meet on ten thousand a year for you, your wife, and two children. 16 million Americans are doing just that, or they are trying to get by on their own with less than $5,000. I have no idea how they can.

    The causes of the problem are no mystery to sociologists and political scientists. The share of national income going to corporate profits has far outstripped the share going to wages and salaries. Manufacturing jobs with benefits and union protection have vanished and been supplanted by low-wage, low-security service-sector work. The richest fifth of US households enjoys more than 50 per cent of the national income, while the poorest fifth gets by on an estimated 3.5 per cent.

So, my generation, the baby boomers have dropped the ball. We are maybe the first generation to leave our children worse off than we were. We like the good life our parents left us, and so we spent what we didnít have. Now, America is way in debt, we are about to retire, and we will want all the benefits we think we deserve. Of course all that money we paid into Social Security has been spent. On top of that, we passed laws like Medicare and Medicaid which our children will have to pay for, too.

The rich will do just fine, that is until all of the middle class falls into the lower class, and then like in every great country in history, we will start all over.

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