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Old 10-18-2006, 03:43 PM   #1
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The average American at 300 million

"The average American at 300 million"


"We're richer and more comfortable than ever -- but we're still dissatisfied. Polls say average Americans think their parents had it better."


By Forbes.com

"As the U.S. population crossed the 300 million mark sometime around 7:46 a.m. Tuesday (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the typical family is doing a whole lot better than families were in 1967, the year the population surpassed 200 million."

"Mr. and Mrs. Median's $46,326 in annual income is 32% higher than their mid-1960s counterparts, when adjusted for inflation, and 13% more than those at the median in the economic boom year of 1985. And thanks to ballooning real-estate values, average household net worth has increased even faster. The typical American household has a net worth of $465,970, up 83% from 1965, 60% from 1985 and 35% from 1995."

"Throw in the low inflation of the past 20 years, a deregulated airline industry that's made travel much cheaper, plus technological progress that's provided the middle class with not only better cars and televisions, but every gadget from DVD players to iPods, all at lower and lower prices, and it's obvious that Mr. and Mrs. Median are living the life of Riley compared with their parents and grandparents."

"Purchasing power keeps rising"

"The fact is that in real terms, the Medians are doing great. After adjusting for inflation, Mr. Median makes 25% more than his father did 30 years ago. Mrs. Median is a lot more likely to work in the professional ranks than her mother was and to be paid about three times as much doing so. And though she still makes only 77% of what her male counterparts earn, this is up from 33% in 1965. They dote on the same number of children -- two -- but waited longer to have them, until both careers were well under way. They also pay less tax to the federal government and have 8% more purchasing power than they did 20 years ago and 5.7% more than they had just 10 years ago."

"But if despite their prosperity, the Medians need some cheering up, there is one powerful person whose wage growth they have outpaced nicely over the past two generations."

"When Lyndon Johnson occupied the White House in 1965, he earned $100,000 a year, or about 14 times what the Medians earned. This year, George W. Bush will earn $400,000, or only about nine times the Medians."

By Tom Van Riper, Forbes.com

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com....aspx?GT1=8618
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Old 10-21-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
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Mr. and Mrs. Median are making more than the average family in the 60's because they both have to work to make ends meet. The day of a single income providing for a family is GONE.
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Old 10-21-2006, 08:01 PM   #3
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Originally posted by najeena
Mr. and Mrs. Median are making more than the average family in the 60's because they both have to work to make ends meet. The day of a single income providing for a family is GONE.
If that was really the case, the United States would not have the 10th highest standard of living in the world according to the latest human development index reported by the United Nations. Today, Americans purchase all kinds of gadgets that are NOT necessities and which they would not be purchasing if they were just "making ends meet". The fact is, US standard of living has NEVER been this high in history. Median Income, Per capita GDP, the countries GDP, life expectancy, level of education, are all at their highest levels ever in the history of the country. Today, there is nearly one automobile for every person in the population, while that same statistic was less than half that figure back in the 1960s. The fact of the matter is, Mr. and Mrs. Median's households are filled with tons of non-essential items, things that would be foreign to the average household in the 1960s.

But hey, if you want to return to the standard of living experienced by people in the 1960s, move to an average area of Brazil or Russia and you can enjoy that splendid 1960s standard of living.
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Old 10-21-2006, 11:24 PM   #4
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anyone have figures about the debth people have to buy that gadgets ?


..and i could find a job that pays enough to maintian a family.
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Old 10-22-2006, 03:18 AM   #5
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Oh, i almost forgot If you want you can borrow this book from me. It is a great read.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by barbara Erhenreich.
http://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Dimed-N...e=UTF8&s=books
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Old 10-22-2006, 04:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2


If that was really the case, the United States would not have the 10th highest standard of living in the world according to the latest human development index reported by the United Nations. Today, Americans purchase all kinds of gadgets that are NOT necessities and which they would not be purchasing if they were just "making ends meet". The fact is, US standard of living has NEVER been this high in history. Median Income, Per capita GDP, the countries GDP, life expectancy, level of education, are all at their highest levels ever in the history of the country. Today, there is nearly one automobile for every person in the population, while that same statistic was less than half that figure back in the 1960s. The fact of the matter is, Mr. and Mrs. Median's households are filled with tons of non-essential items, things that would be foreign to the average household in the 1960s.

But hey, if you want to return to the standard of living experienced by people in the 1960s, move to an average area of Brazil or Russia and you can enjoy that splendid 1960s standard of living.
Ha-Hah!! At last we finally agree on something Sting2. You are right on target.
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2


If that was really the case, the United States would not have the 10th highest standard of living in the world according to the latest human development index reported by the United Nations. Today, Americans purchase all kinds of gadgets that are NOT necessities and which they would not be purchasing if they were just "making ends meet". The fact is, US standard of living has NEVER been this high in history. Median Income, Per capita GDP, the countries GDP, life expectancy, level of education, are all at their highest levels ever in the history of the country. Today, there is nearly one automobile for every person in the population, while that same statistic was less than half that figure back in the 1960s. The fact of the matter is, Mr. and Mrs. Median's households are filled with tons of non-essential items, things that would be foreign to the average household in the 1960s.

But hey, if you want to return to the standard of living experienced by people in the 1960s, move to an average area of Brazil or Russia and you can enjoy that splendid 1960s standard of living.


while i agree that the standard of living has gone up since the 1960s, i have no idea what any of the supposed facts you present have to do with the original thesis, since the placing of the US as having the 10th highest standard of living in the world isn't a historical comparison but a comparison agains other contemporary countries.

but i also think the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the increasing concentration of weallth in the hands of fewer and fewer are considerable problems that are not addressed by either the HDI or the overall standard of living. for example, when people tout the housing boom they often fail to realize that 4 out of 10 new homes sold are 2nd homes. the US does not work as well for some people as it does for other.

and then we have the issue of deficits to correct and debt to China to pay back. but let's not rain on the party, since the generally good economy is pretty much the ONLY thing Republicans have to run on.
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Old 10-22-2006, 05:02 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Irvine511




while i agree that the standard of living has gone up since the 1960s, i have no idea what any of the supposed facts you present have to do with the original thesis, since the placing of the US as having the 10th highest standard of living in the world isn't a historical comparison but a comparison agains other contemporary countries.

but i also think the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the increasing concentration of weallth in the hands of fewer and fewer are considerable problems that are not addressed by either the HDI or the overall standard of living. for example, when people tout the housing boom they often fail to realize that 4 out of 10 new homes sold are 2nd homes. the US does not work as well for some people as it does for other.

and then we have the issue of deficits to correct and debt to China to pay back. but let's not rain on the party, since the generally good economy is pretty much the ONLY thing Republicans have to run on.
The post your refering to was a response to maycocksean, claim that todays Mr. and Mrs. Median only have enough to "make ends meet". Mr. and Mrs. Median are doing far more than simply surviving as the list of unnecessary household gadgets, concerts and sporting events at $100 dollars a pop, show. U2 make more money per concert ticket in the United States than they do anywhere in the world and its not suits and ties that are filling the arena's night after night. Obviously, the human development index is an excellant indicator of the relative prosperity of the average American. Your not starving at #10 on the list.

The widening gap between "rich" and "poor" is not necessarily a bad thing as long as those that are poor continue to progress towards a better standard of living. The wild "success" of the rich does not come at the expense of the poor. U2's massive success and the constantly widening gap between their level of income and their fans average level of income is not something to be worried about.

The problems I would see is when the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes and are successful in hiding a good bit of their fortunes from the government.

While the poverty rate head steadily gone up after the recession, the last reported figure of 12.7% is still one of the lowest poverty rate levels in the history of the country and has likely come down from that level with the unemployment rate dropping steadily the past couple of years. Unemployment is only 4.6% now and if it drops much further, will start to see the labor shortage problems of 1999/2000 which will not be good for the economy.

Continued economic growth is the way to handle the deficit problems. In terms of National Debt, the USA has a good bit, running at about 65% to 70% of GDP, but that is much lower than Europe where national debts are often 100% to 110% of GDP. China is not doing to bad, but their national debt is already nearly 40% of their GDP closing in on the 3 Trillion dollar mark. But all of these debt levels are small compared to the US debt level in 1946 which stood at over 150% of GDP.
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:06 PM   #9
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this reminded me of a fairly lengthy article from The Economist, a decidedly economically center-right publication, that i read last summer. some money quotes:

[q]AMERICANS do not go in for envy. The gap between rich and poor is bigger than in any other advanced country, but most people are unconcerned. Whereas Europeans fret about the way the economic pie is divided, Americans want to join the rich, not soak them. Eight out of ten, more than anywhere else, believe that though you may start poor, if you work hard, you can make pots of money. It is a central part of the American Dream.

The political consensus, therefore, has sought to pursue economic growth rather than the redistribution of income, in keeping with John Kennedy's adage that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide has been rising fast recently. Thanks to a jump in productivity growth after 1995, America's economy has outpaced other rich countries' for a decade. Its workers now produce over 30% more each hour they work than ten years ago. In the late 1990s everybody shared in this boom. Though incomes were rising fastest at the top, all workers' wages far outpaced inflation.




But after 2000 something changed. The pace of productivity growth has been rising again, but now it seems to be lifting fewer boats. After you adjust for inflation, the wages of the typical American worker—the one at the very middle of the income distribution—have risen less than 1% since 2000. In the previous five years, they rose over 6%. If you take into account the value of employee benefits, such as health care, the contrast is a little less stark. But, whatever the measure, it seems clear that only the most skilled workers have seen their pay packets swell much in the current economic expansion. The fruits of productivity gains have been skewed towards the highest earners, and towards companies, whose profits have reached record levels as a share of GDP.

Even in a country that tolerates inequality, political consequences follow when the rising tide raises too few boats. The impact of stagnant wages has been dulled by rising house prices, but still most Americans are unhappy about the economy. According to the latest Gallup survey, fewer than four out of ten think it is in “excellent” or “good” shape, compared with almost seven out of ten when George Bush took office.

The White House professes to be untroubled. Average after-tax income per person, Mr Bush often points out, has risen by more than 8% on his watch, once inflation is taken into account. He is right, but his claim is misleading, since the median worker—the one in the middle of the income range—has done less well than the average, whose gains are pulled up by the big increases of those at the top.

Privately, some policymakers admit that the recent trends have them worried, and not just because of the congressional elections in November. The statistics suggest that the economic boom may fade. Americans still head to the shops with gusto, but it is falling savings rates and rising debts (made possible by high house prices), not real income growth, that keep their wallets open. A bust of some kind could lead to widespread political disaffection. Eventually, the country's social fabric could stretch. “If things carry on like this for long enough,” muses one insider, “we are going to end up like Brazil”—a country notorious for the concentration of its income and wealth. [/q]

[q]The rise of the working rich reinforces America's self-image as the land of opportunity. But, by some measures, that image is an illusion. Several new studies* show parental income to be a better predictor of whether someone will be rich or poor in America than in Canada or much of Europe. In America about half of the income disparities in one generation are reflected in the next. In Canada and the Nordic countries that proportion is about a fifth.

It is not clear whether this sclerosis is increasing: the evidence is mixed. Many studies suggest that mobility between generations has stayed roughly the same in recent decades, and some suggest it is decreasing. Even so, ordinary Americans seem to believe that theirs is still a land of opportunity. The proportion who think you can start poor and end up rich has risen 20 percentage points since 1980.

That helps explain why voters who grumble about the economy have nonetheless failed to respond to class politics. John Edwards, the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate in 2004, made little headway with his tale of “Two Americas”, one for the rich and one for the rest. Over 70% of Americans support the abolition of the estate tax (inheritance tax), even though only one household in 100 pays it. [/q]

[q]In their haste to applaud or lament this tale, both sides of the debate tend to overlook some nuances. First, America's rising inequality has not, in fact, been continuous. The gap between the bottom and the middle—whether in terms of skills, age, job experience or income—did widen sharply in the 1980s. High-school dropouts earned 12% less in an average week in 1990 than in 1980; those with only a high-school education earned 6% less. But during the 1990s, particularly towards the end of the decade, that gap stabilised and, by some measures, even narrowed. Real wages rose faster for the bottom quarter of workers than for those in the middle.

After 2000 most people lost ground, but, by many measures, those in the middle of the skills and education ladder have been hit relatively harder than those at the bottom. People who had some college experience, but no degree, fared worse than high-school dropouts. Some statistics suggest that the annual income of Americans with a college degree has fallen relative to that of high-school graduates for the first time in decades. So, whereas the 1980s were hardest on the lowest skilled, the 1990s and this decade have squeezed people in the middle.

Getty Images

First, pick your parentsThe one truly continuous trend over the past 25 years has been towards greater concentration of income at the very top. The scale of this shift is not visible from most popular measures of income or wages, as they do not break the distribution down finely enough. But several recent studies have dissected tax records to investigate what goes on at the very top.

The figures are startling. According to Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Thomas Piketty of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the share of aggregate income going to the highest-earning 1% of Americans has doubled from 8% in 1980 to over 16% in 2004. That going to the top tenth of 1% has tripled from 2% in 1980 to 7% today. And that going to the top one-hundredth of 1%—the 14,000 taxpayers at the very top of the income ladder—has quadrupled from 0.65% in 1980 to 2.87% in 2004.

Put these pieces together and you do not have a picture of ever-widening inequality but of what Lawrence Katz of Harvard University, David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Melissa Kearney of the Brookings Institution call a polarisation of the labour market. The bottom is no longer falling behind, the top is soaring ahead and the middle is under pressure. [/q]

[q]All in all, America's income distribution is likely to continue the trends of the recent past. While those at the top will go on drawing huge salaries, those in the broad middle of the middle class will see their incomes churned. The political consequences will depend on the pace of change and the economy's general health. With luck, the offshoring of services will happen gradually, allowing time for workers to adapt their skills while strong growth will keep employment high. But if the economy slows, Americans' scepticism of globalisation is sure to rise. And even their famous tolerance of inequality may reach a limit. [/q]
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:21 AM   #10
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Hey there's no mention of the fattest people on the planet. Aren't you Americans leading the world in gross obesity??
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:33 AM   #11
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Originally posted by STING2


The post your refering to was a response to maycocksean, claim that todays Mr. and Mrs. Median only have enough to "make ends meet".
Actually, that wasn't me that was talking about Mr. and Mrs. Median. That was najeena.

I was actually agreeing with you. Dang, Sting, you find away to disagree with me even when we agree!
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