May 29, 2009

The Decline of the Middle Class, Big Screen TV's, and the "Economists" Who Link the Two

I'm back for a brief second to squash the often cited reasons as to why Americans today aren't saving, and are therefore in a financial predicament, compared to thirty years ago.

Law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School and conducted a study a few years back that compared median household incomes and their basic expenses between the 1970's to 2005. Her results were just as I had always suspected.

Note that the data compared families with the same composition: a mother, father, and two child middle class family, all inflation adjusted.

But first, let's examine the main conservative argument used to explain why Americans aren't saving or seeing their incomes rise:

They spend all their money on big screen TV's, designer clothing, and eating out.

Based on this argument, one would naturally deduce that people are consuming much more crap - while maxing out their credit cards - rather than saving their money as families in the 1970's were apparently able to do (about 11% of their income).

However, based on Ms. Warren's data, Americans are actually spending a considerable amount less on those crap items than they were 30 years ago. For example, a family is spending 32% less on clothing, 18% less on food, and 52% less on appliances. So much for the idea that we are consuming more of those "unnecessary items."

So the question is, if all those things went down, where is the family spending more money? Accordingly, there has been a 76% increase in mortgages for the same sized home, 74% increase in health care among healthy families, 52% increase in automobiles, and 100% increase in child care. The last two increases are based primarily on the fact that families today are required to have two working parents; therefore, two cars as opposed to one and, of course, daycare since one parent no longer stays at home.

The real problem we see from this data is that all those items that decreased are all flexible purchases. In other words, families are able to cut back their spending habits on clothing, food, and appliances. In contrast, all the increased expenditures such as health care and mortgages, are not flexible. Additionally, the early 1970's family was spending about half of its income on these big fixed expenses that are very difficult to cut back on, while the family of the 2000's are spending 3/4 of their income on these same fixed expenses.

What this tells us, despite the fact that we now have two working parents, is that today's families have fewer total dollars left over than their one income parents had 30 years ago (wages have remained approximately stable since the 70's, inflation adjusted). The problem does not lie upon unnecessary consumption, but the fact that the large fixed expenses have just gotten so much greater.

March 25, 2009

White House Happy Hour Mix, Vol. XLIV

crystal dawn is retiring, as this is her last blog post, so she made this CD mix...

The 18-track disc, titled White House Happy Hour Mix, Vol. XLIV is the first ever presidential soundtrack designed specifically for the Obama Administration. In cooperation with Damn Straight Records, crystal dawn has compiled the most complete affectional mix featuring a stellar collection of artists from across genres, including such renowned, multi-platinum performers as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, The Isley Brothers, and of course, 2Pac.

Now the President and White House officials can head over to the Red Room to sit back, relax, drink Hennessy, and swing to soul-inspired sounds after a long day's worth of being all presidential and shiz. Because we all need a happy hour.

Track listing:

1. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) - Marvin Gaye
2. Holy Thursday - David Axelrod <--- different guy
3. Walk on By - Dionne Warwick
4. Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet
5. Down in Mexico - The Coasters
6. Street Lady - Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds
7. Can You Get To That - Funkadelic
8. Across 110th Street (demo version) - Bobby Womack
9. Footsteps In The Dark (Parts 1 & 2) - The Isley Brothers
10. Summer Madness - Kool & The Gang
11. Knucklehead - Grover Washington, Jr.
12. Baby It's You - Smith
13. Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley
14. Summer Breeze (cover) - The Isley Brothers
15. Keep on Running - Stevie Wonder
16. White Folks - Barack Obama
17. How Do You Want It - 2Pac
18. Buy Your Own Damn Fries - Barack Obama

The soundtrack hits stores on a Tuesday at some point in the future since all things are released on Tuesday's.

Peace, I'm out!

March 20, 2009

Sarah Palin Wants the Economy to Fail

Sarah Palin has announced that she is rejecting almost 30% of stimulus money to her town, err I mean state, of Alaska. The bulk of her rejection money goes to education. Considering she speaks as though she has a fourth grade education, no surprise there.

Other Republican governors also rejecting "portions" of stimulus money:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry last week announced that he turned down $555 million of federal stimulus funding that would expand the state's unemployment benefits. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he would not accept nearly $100 million to expand unemployment benefits. And South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has said he only wants to use the federal money to pay down debt.

Unemployment benefits give a much greater bank for the buck than tax cuts do.
But don't be fooled by these asshole governors. Palin et al KNOW that unemployment benefits help more than twice as much as tax cuts do, but are counting on the economy to FAIL so they have justification to run in the next Presidential election cycle. How un-American. How treasonous!

January 21, 2009

Beware of other concert goers - they could make you the brunt of a blog

*taken by crystal dawn May 7, 2008 at a non-aerosmith concert

I believe, yes...yes that is! That *is* bird shit.