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Old 08-03-2008, 06:22 AM   #1  
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Default Growing insecurity grips low-wage workers

From Washington Post:
By Michael A. Fletcher and Jon Cohen

updated 14 minutes ago
Low-wage workers in the United States are gripped by increasing financial insecurity as they inch along an economic tightrope made riskier by pervasive job losses and rising prices. Many struggle to pay for life's basics -- housing, food and health care -- and most report having virtually no financial cushion should they stumble.

Still, they remain inspired by the American dream, with most saying they are more apt to move up economically than slip backward even if they are frustrated now. Most also expect better for their children.

This complex picture of low-wage workers emerges from a survey conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. The nationwide poll, conducted June 18 to July 7, included 1,350 randomly selected people between ages 18 and 64 who work at least 30 hours a week and earned no more than $27,000 last year.

Growing insecurity grips low-wage workers - U.S. news - MSNBC.com
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:59 AM   #2  
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No animosity intended.

There is a chance we'll see these people become increasingly unemployed as a result of the increase in the minimum wage. I don't think businesses can afford to pay more for help in a softening economy. Besides, a majority of those who work for minimum wage are where they are as a direct result of decisions they've made. Young people with little to no experience, going to college as well as those working an extra job are excluded. "Retired" people having to continue working in order to eat is a direct result of the "Great Society". If they were educated on investing 50 plus years ago instead of the government doing the investing for them I think they would be significantly better off. I worked many "low-wage" jobs and it's my opinion that these jobs aren't intended to facilitate raising a family on. These jobs are intended for extra income as well as for those with little to no work experience. Just my opinion. Check-out fairtax.org and see how HR25 would impact those earning below the poverty level. Pretty interesting.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:19 PM   #3  
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It sucks to be poor and now, according to this article, it sucks to be rich, too! Well, boo hoo to them.

Here is an excerpt of it:
"It doesn't help when your customer base is pinching its pennies, either.

"A lot of our clients stop by a deli on the way to the airport, rather than have a catered meal on the plane" costing $50 per boxed lunch, said Justin Sullivan. Sullivan is the founder of Regent Jet, an Andover, Massachusetts-based broker that buys blocks of aircraft time to trim costs for high-end clientele whose multi-leg itineraries can sometimes exceed $100,000.

Trevor Gilman, a professional pilot, says his charter service out of western Massachusetts' Berkshires Mountains has flown about half as many miles so far this year compared with the same time last year. Consequently, the service hasn't replaced a handful of employees who recently found other work or retired.

"We're down to a total of two crews for three airplanes," Gilman said."
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #4  
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I love it when people choose low wage jobs because they seem to think it means "job security."
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:28 PM   #5  
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I love it when people choose low wage jobs because they seem to think it means "job security."
In one of the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" books (Guide to Investing) R. Kiyosaki says "The more security you need, the more scarcity there is in your life". An interesting statement that seems to go along with what you're saying.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:13 PM   #6  
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The problem (well depends on perspective) with low-wage workers is that their jobs are only worth low-wage. I'm going to have to call Bull$*** on the struggle to pay life's basics.... average minimum wage employee with at least one dependent will gross about $32,000 when using gov't benefits (i.e. low-income housing, WIC, welfare, Earned income tax credit, etc, etc). A person with reasonable intelligence could provide for their family by making good financial decisions. I have been at that income level before while paying to learn to fly without loans or gov't programs... and I came out just fine. It may be tough to get by... however not spending a paycheck at a bar every friday or buying $50 worth of cigs and $50 worth of lottery tickets every week would certainly help out with that cushion. People are at where they are in life because they want to be there ultimately (excluding medical issues). There is plenty of opportunity in America even in the present economy.
Every new social program serves to de-value the dollar even more in the long run.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:25 AM   #7  
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Even in the present economy we're better off than many other nations. One set of expenses that will need to be contained is healthcare costs, especially through Federally-guaranteed programs that can/will bankrupt the Republic in another 30 years. That doesn't mean that there aren't fundamental problems with the economy—but we're alright, all things considered.

The loss of pensions hurts but the real problem IS GOING TO BE HEALTHCARE SPENDING FOR RETIREES. Unless Congress takes action to better regulate the costs of healthcare or changes the provisions of Medicare/Medicaid, the rest of us working-age people are hosed.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:44 PM   #8  
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Even in the present economy we're better off than many other nations. One set of expenses that will need to be contained is healthcare costs, especially through Federally-guaranteed programs that can/will bankrupt the Republic in another 30 years. That doesn't mean that there aren't fundamental problems with the economy—but we're alright, all things considered.

The loss of pensions hurts but the real problem IS GOING TO BE HEALTHCARE SPENDING FOR RETIREES. Unless Congress takes action to better regulate the costs of healthcare or changes the provisions of Medicare/Medicaid, the rest of us working-age people are hosed.
You are right. Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have proliferated a generation through offering "cures" for all sorts of this that may not even be sickness. Healthcare ethics have also added to this (i.e. homeless man needed triple bypass not paying for it, etc), especially malpractice lawsuits... often very liberal agendas that are in favor of free healthcare are in favor of laws that make it easier to sue a doctor for malpractice... this is of course a paradox that will need to be answered in the near future.

SomedayRJ... as much as I agree with you about everything else, I would have to disagree with you about regulating the healthcare industry...The market must naturally pop the inflated healthcare bubble... If someone can't pay for something, they just simply can't pay for it, if more people can't pay for rising costs.. the costs will have to come back down to what a consumer can pay for... healthcare is the most extreme case, the personal cost is unfortunate...however people have been without groundbreaking medicine in the past and they will need to again until the market stabilizes. Asking for government regulations is opening pandora's box for everyone. Americans simply overuse healthcare, especially on things that simply could be prevented (i.e. obesity, smoking, etc). Regulations will not prevent this if it isn't taken to the end of the market.

The Great Republic has been bankrupt, at least since the FDR administration.

Last edited by ryan1234; 08-07-2008 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:01 PM   #9  
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SomedayRJ... as much as I agree with you about everything else, I would have to disagree with you about regulating the healthcare industry...The market must naturally pop the inflated healthcare bubble... If someone can't pay for something, they just simply can't pay for it, if more people can't pay for rising costs.. the costs will have to come back down to what a consumer can pay for... healthcare is the most extreme case, the personal cost is unfortunate...however people have been without groundbreaking medicine in the past and they will need to again until the market stabilizes. Asking for government regulations is opening pandora's box for everyone. Americans simply overuse healthcare, especially on things that simply could be prevented (i.e. obesity, smoking, etc). Regulations will not prevent this if it isn't taken to the end of the market.
Curing obesity is like curing the public's stupidity about anything aeronautical: it's nigh on impossible.

Basically, with healthcare in the US—
(1) Everyone (well, everyone with a brain, that is) thinks that it is a problem now.
(2) Most everyone (again, those with brains) in economics has studied it and knows that we're f*cked if nothing changes.
(3) Most everyone in Washington that you see on C-SPAN (those without brains except maybe for a few in the brain trust at 800 Indy) chooses to bend over backwards for a large voting group (senior citizens) and are too cowardly to tell them that their health programs are bankrupting the Republic and mortgaging MY future.
(4) Most everyone working for those talking heads on C-SPAN (these guys do have brains and are mostly young ideologues—like me) knows that we have a serious emergency on our hands and that something needs to happen, and right soon.

I don't want to especially argue inelasticity of demand for healthcare — the fact is that you need a certain level of primary care (preventative maintenance, to wit, everyone should have a physical every year) and contingency care (corrective maintenance, i.e. "Shucks, I have a sinus infection again...need more Zithromax.") I do think that most Americans could take better care of their bodies and that the "fast everything" society we have at the moment is extremely unhealthy. People work longer hours and so much of being well is being well-rested...

The part is that really ridiculous is that for almost all of Big Pharma, their single biggest payer is the Federal government. You can either (a) have the Feds stop paying for prescriptions, or (b) impose strict/draconian price regulation on anything the Feds buy. The prescription racket—and that's what it is—needs to end.

There's considerable research about single-payer healthcare; nobody really thinks it's the be-all-end-all solution but for providing basic, primary care to EVERYONE a single-payer approach is superior. And this is why the Scandinavians have it. Everyone has primary care free of charge (albeit supported by taxes for those who can afford to pay) and then may carry supplemental insurance for stuff that is not covered in the basic level of care.

What we really desparately need is to get everyone my age (20-30 age group) informed about the impending doom...that way, something might happen about it and we can break certain special interests' stranglehold on DC and replace them with our interests...namely, cheap oil, mainline pay for Q400/RJ7/RJ9s, and affordable health insurance for all.
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Old 08-23-2008, 10:06 PM   #10  
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"The problem (well depends on perspective) with low-wage workers is that their jobs are only worth low-wage."

hmm, I can think of some pilots making 20K a year. Weird you would say that on this site.

From us pilots down to the gas station clerk, we all need to make money to survive. We NEED people to send packages, jump out of planes, and buy tickets. That includes everyone. If your figure is correct, which I believe it is (I think the average for two kid son these programs is around 45K), there is no need to even work. I dont make 32K a year unless I throw in overtime, and I am a certified mig welder. Should THAT be a low paying job? Everyone needs to make enough money to survive, and with one dependent, YOU DONT GET THE PROGRAMS YOU SPEAK OF. I worked at a subway while I went to school, I got nothing in the form of student aid or anything. My dad would not pay for any of it, but let me live at home. SO, that means student loans. I know you're aginst loans, so should I have just not went to college? Work at subway and be a mig welder that only deserves low wages my whole life?

"People are at where they are in life because they want to be there ultimately (excluding medical issues). There is plenty of opportunity in America even in the present economy"

who is going to make that car of yours? that airplane? Come to Michigan and let me show you just how wrong you are. there us to be a time where you could make a good wage and living by doing things like making car and car parts, etc. Not anymore. Do THEY want to be out of a job that got sent to Mexico so the company can make more money for the top peoples pockets? Well, here we have just that. A government that steals half of what you make, gives it to people who dont work, have more kids then they can afford, and then gives you the rest to pay more taxes on things you have to buy to survive. No one wants to make $12 an hour, but someone has to. So, how about we give these people a break and stop telling them they are there because they want to be. I assure you, they don't. When they cuts wages to stay "competitive", milk does not go down. Gas does not go down, nor do the taxes we have to pay to buy these items. Thats the problem people, most people in this country cannot afford to buy a new car, so few people do, and that puts people out of work. not all people are raised or born to be doctors or things like that. That does not mean they should not have a decent life. Sorry to tell you, but I think we have seen there are airlines out there that think flying airplanes is worth a low wage.
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