Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why It's Hard To Be Yourself


This post is outside my usual political format and style; above is a link featuring some brave souls that are quite bold and tact in describing the current social consciousness. Hopefully readers you can appreciate a slice of life handed to you unadulterated, because of all things the truth is more filtered than our drinking water.

There is more to be said on this topic later, but for now enjoy this brief and concise sound.

(Click Above Link)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trickle Down Politics

Companies like JP Morgan & Chase have contributed to perhaps, what will be, the most blurred election of our current generation; for the first time conservatives and progressives alike are having controversial feelings regarding the “Trickle Down” economic ideology/practice. The middle class may have more to say on the time honored idea of “Reaganomics” and “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” The real issue is that there has been a consistent state of disrepair that has not been assessed (properly). In this post I would like to discuss and identify what I feel is the middle class of politics, though ironically there is not much of a middle class economically.

I had an opportunity to speak with a team member of JP Morgan & Chase, almost immediately thoughts of animosity, misplaced resentment, and other caustic thoughts swirled through my head. Banks, my first thought is the credit default swap system failing, though ardently supported until the AIG Fallout of 2008. The person I spoke with was neither top or bottom tier associate, he was your average nine to five white guy, had kids, suits, hopes, and vacations to save up for. He is a member of the middle class, a near extinct social species.

The following are his thoughts:

Myself: “I would like to ask, as controversial now its nature more than ever, your thoughts on the upcoming election? The left, the right, and what it’s all for.”

Anonymous: “Well I’ve always found myself voting conservative, though I realize now that I once used to support "Trickle Down" economics. Trickle down to whom? Most certainly not me, I'm not hiring anyone, despite lacking the manpower to get anything done."

Myself: "Could you go into further detail?"

Anonymous: "Sure, for instance I'm really just a supervisor in my department so I obviously have limited sway in the direction and immediate resources available from Chase; though interestingly enough they're taking us in a new direction. That new direction was supposed to streamline and make the company more efficient, some parts were good but nothing really changed up or down, just different not better."

Myself: "In what sense?"

Anonymous: "Well, I can't really go into specifics but to give you an idea of the bad I would lose people, and would be forced to work with what I have even though there's demand for labor power. With that in mind, we have money so why not hire? Hell with the tax cuts, this is what Trickle Down is for!"

Myself: "Agreed."

Anonymous: "Funny, I used to support this idea and now I can't even justify making less than 8% to calculate for inflation over five to seven years."

Myself: "The average American has received 11% for inflation so you're not far off, though the highest, and smallest, percentile has received over 100% increases in wages to adjust for inflation." (This directly relates from my previous post regarding US Department of Labor Statistics.)

Anonymous: "The problem is none of that money has come down yet, hell I haven't seen a dime I won't lie to you on that, outside of the raises to adjust for inflation. Still, life isn't bad persay just I see where Trickle Down economics fails, and how it's primarily politics curtailed to the highest economic percentile."

Myself: "Thank you for your insight, if I may ask would you feel that either candidate in this upcoming election has something to offer on the table in terms of the declining middle class?"

Anonymous: "Well, considering Trickle Down doesn't work that initial platform is not going to convince very many voters, so that's out."

At this point the interview was cut short due to time constraints and we parted our ways.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Opinion of the Week

Hello readers this is Independent Cataclysm, I decided to tackle a weekly opinion based on morals, reflective insight, and to begin to insert my feelings on the absurdity and weaknesses of the western model.

In this post I'd like to keep it simple, tyranny. Such a ubiquitous word, however it is also subjective. I feel the Wall Street Bull is that very symbol, an economic bully pushing those not willing to go along into their "appropriate class." Those whom are too timid to take on the bull run, or perhaps go along; those who don't know better do not know how to handle the bull himself.

The bull is a symbol of applied greed, tyranny in the sense that "Wall Street" is the Kings of the future, corporate buildings their castles, legal teams their knights clad in suits. How is can people be subjugated without violence or any immediate physical duress? You reduce the transparency of how money is handled. You make auditing as difficult and tedious as possible for even the experienced or diligent investigator.

Transparency has always been met with resistance because the banking and market system is built on deceit and opportunism, this statement though strong is historically relevant. When the AIG Fallout occurred in 2008, who was there for the banks we the tax paying people were. All $786.6 Billion of us; who's been there for us since the middle class began decaying? Not the banks, not the aristocratic, and oddly not the government either. In fact education is only being utilitzed as an income source for the state, rather than an investment from the state to its people to grant them a better future (since we pay taxes anyway).

Again the bull, to me, is a harsh reminder of how the system (and by system I mean Americanized hybrid of neopolitical rhetoric, lobbyists, and economics) does not support its people and that politics as a whole bears limited significance on social matters (outside of the economic arena).

A good symbol would be a herding dog, because the herding dog cannot afford to lead the sheep astray for their fates are interdepedent, and the sheep can therefore depend on the herding dog. There is a fairness in their interdepency, more importantly a relative transparency because the sheep can actually see where they are going though they know not the destination each step of the journey is no more mystery than the previous step.

This is my opinion of how economics should be run, how politics should model themselves (if leadership is where the emphasis lies), and finally this is my opinion of the week.

Thanks for reading and getting through readers, this is one of my more direct posts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Middle Class Decay: The Service Class

In my last post I commented and constructed a very brief analysis on NYTimes writer David Leonhardt article "The Agenda." His piece was meant to research and quantify what has lead to the middle class decline; in great depth he researches and performs comparative analysis on recessions in the United States through past decades as well as their perspective recoveries. Though what is unique about the most current recession is there has been little or no growth in the middle class sector, this I feel can be suggestive depending on the evidence provided.

My interpretation of the issue (middle class decay) is that the new middle class has become what I call "the service class," because a boost in manufacturing was the original method of recovery for the middle class during previous recessions, and also the key form of sustainability for the middle class as long as the United States was a key exporter. Though concepts like outsourcing and off-shoring have removed the manufacturing element from the United States almost entirely (partially due to the role reversal as a key importer rather than exporter), this is not breaking news to just about anyone by any means, though this metamorphosis of a manufacturing middle class to a service lower-middle class is quite a distinct, and perhaps mortifying, adaptation to the globalizing economy.

In this post will I discuss the service class, one of the most identifiable aspects of middle class decay and outsourcing/off-shoring.

Interestingly enough, unemployment rests at 8.3 percent (according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statstics) as of July 2012 and yet Americans are still struggling to adjust to the costs of inflation, why is this?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics "Employment Situation Report" for July 2012:

"The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to asinvoluntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. Theseindividuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job."

Though unemployment percentages are at better ratios, the reality is that people are still having trouble making ends meet due to only being able obtaining part-time jobs or having labor hours cut back. These figures are current summer data, this implies seasonal summer labor into the mixture, during "colder" times there will be less part-time employment available and hours could be cut back further.

This, again, is partially due to our reversal of fortune being the key importing power rather than exporter, this has its own weight in the global economy though this also bears a most unique significance in that the middle class and the lower-middle class become blurred together and since the United States produces compartively insignificant amounts, this is due to labor laws ensuring fairer labor practices (to be discussed later), therefore we have one other option, sell what we import (or little that we actually produce). By this point the national market is at mercy of the fickle supply and demand fluctuations.

Simply put, if people do not desire it, it will not be shipped, if it doesn't get shipped it's not in stock, and therefore won't be sold. If there isn't an item to be sold, that means less people to sell it, in otherwords less jobs (full or part time alike). The service class systems' primary means of expansion relies on growth via leadership opportunities, there is not necessarily need for education whereas experience can and will suffice. This can suggest that because the service industry requires less education that these standards may be reflected nationally based on global economic demand.

One can surmise that most teens or uneducated persons work at either Wal-Mart, Home Depo, or smaller retailers as either associates, cashiers, or sales clerks. This generally does not require more than a high school diploma, and often a place for people that do not have more than a Bachelor's Degree potentially leaving the Associates degree as a superfluous debt or stepping stone at most.

And "declining unemployment rates" are supposed to be reassuring.

Thanks for reading and I feel now, in retrospect, that it would be more appropriate to examine the labor law structure globally at a later time; for instance subcontractors with clothing outlettors (which I will go into greater detail during future posts). Also, I would like to address how, I feel, education has "gone through inflation" as well in future posts.

Employment Situation Summary Link for July 2012:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Analyzing Middle Class Decay: Commentaries on the Agenda

Hello Bloggers,

This is Independent Cataclysm, in this post I will begin with my own commentaries and insight based on the New York Times article series "The Agenda" Written by NYTimes writer David Leonhardt.

Leonhardt begins by addressing statistics pertaining to economic decline from the Great Depression and how these compare to present day middle class decay. His details point towards the fact, however, that despite the waning size of the middle class that the affluent have actually been only earning more as each quarter progresses. The affluent in the United States making $1.5 million in 2010, that figure has literally doubled since then (more than 100 percent) adjusting for inflation; whereas the middle class have only received 11 percent increases to adjust for inflation (Leonhardt).

Some Perspective:
The United States had, according to Bernake, had a annual growth percent of 4.6 during the 1920-1929 decade (far surpassing the stable growth of 3.5 percent through the 80's and 90's); in these decades the Middle Class was not fighting for survival rather thriving (EHA).

This, for some reason, has gone on uncontested as the decades have progressed only fueling economic inequality, the only capital available to individuals in the poor and middle class sectors is intellectual capital. The gap between the affluent and the poor/middle class sectors only increase; "The top-earning 1 percent of households now bring home about 20 percent of total income, up from less than 10 percent 40 years ago" (Leonhardt). This can be directly linked to the streamlining of globalized capitalism, not a particularly negative phenomena though I feel as if without having international trade laws or policies (similar to labor laws of the United States) off-shore capitalist ventures are far more profitable than national labor.

This ventures into murky waters however, with the entire laissez faire system at risk. In my next post I would like to address those hazards, the pros and cons of the globalized system ranging from technological growth potentials and providing jobs overseas, to the realities of unfair labor practices and the lack of policy to protect workers overseas (providing us with the bargains we Americans need).

Provided below is the NYTimes article link to the series "The Agenda: A Closer Look At The Middle Class Decline."


(Information and Statistics were also retrieved from the Economic History Association).