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A Quarter Of Jobs In America Pay Below The Federal Poverty Line

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Over two years ago (and reiterated last year) Zero Hedge first wrote on what was and is an undisputed transition within the US labor force: a shift from full-time to temp, or part-time labor, with virtually no contractual or welfare benefits, and where workers are lucky to get minimum wage. This is because in the "New Normal" where copious amounts of structural slack are pervasive due precisely to the Fed's constant flawed micromanagement of the economy, the US has now become an "employers' market."

Furthermore, we were the first to make the critical distinction that it is absolutely not all about the quantity of jobs, but much more importantly, the quality of the new jobs being created. However, just like 99% of the general public, and all of the mainstream media, has an inborn genetic disorder preventing it from grasping the distinction between nominal and real, so these two critical aspects of the US jobs market languished unperturbed. Until now, two years later, when we are happy to see that the mainstream media has finally caught up with what our readers knew in December 2010.

From the NYT, and long overdue:

Politicians across the political spectrum herald “job creation,” but frightfully few of them talk about what kinds of jobs are being created. Yet this clearly matters: According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.

 

A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.

 

Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.

The "some reason" is that absent from the occasional mention here and there, few if any are aware of what is truly going on beneath the surface of America's (part-time) jobs (non) recovery. 

Sadly, while the NYT is accurate up to this point, from here on out they too lose the narrative:

How did we arrive at this state of affairs? Many argue that it was the inevitable result of macroeconomic forces — globalization, deindustrialization and technological change — beyond our political control. Yet employers had (and have) choices. Rather than squeezing workers, they could have invested in workers and boosted product quality, taking what economists call the high road toward more advanced manufacturing and skilled service work. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, American employers have generally taken the low road: lowering wages and cutting benefits, converting permanent employees into part-time and contingent workers, busting unions and subcontracting and outsourcing jobs. They have done so, in part, because of the extraordinary evangelizing of the temp industry, which rose from humble origins to become a global behemoth.

Actually, the primary reason for the surge in part-time jobs over the past 4 years has everything to do with the ongoing Depression, which few are willing to call it for what it is, and, you guessed it, the Fedeal Reserve. Why? We once again refer readers to an article posted nearly a year ago "How The Fed's Visible Hand Is Forcing Corporate Cash Mismanagement" in which we explained that since the advent of ZIRP culture, companies have proceed to i) hoard cash as corporate management is well aware the current artificial economy is a temporary blip on an otherwise inevitable decline back into global economy purgatory and ii) spend what little cash can be disposed off to generate immediate shareholder returns, in the form of stock buybacks, dividends, and when these are impossible, M&A. Alas, the last thing corporations spend capital on is actual organic growth, so desperately needed if they are to be able to afford a viable employee base. Alas, as we showed two days ago, core capital spending has now been declining virtually non stop since posting a modest Y/Y rebound after the Lehman failure.

It is the chart above that shows in no uncertain terms what the corporate vote of confidence in the US economy is. With the consolidated CapEx trendline decidedly lower and to the right, one thing is certain: the part-time normal is here to stay, as more and more people make the minimum part-time wage their daily routine, all the while the BLS, and the administration both lie in broad daylight that the US economy is currently in a recovery.

And while the rest of the NYT piece is mostly fluff, the conclusion is relatively accurate:

The temp industry’s continued growth even in a boom economy was a testament to its success in helping to forge a new cultural consensus about work and workers. Its model of expendable labor became so entrenched, in fact, that it became “common sense,” leaching into nearly every sector of the economy and allowing the newly renamed “staffing industry” to become sought-after experts on employment and work force development. Outsourcing, insourcing, offshoring and many other hallmarks of the global economy (including the use of “adjuncts” in academia, my own corner of the world) owe no small debt to the ideas developed by the temp industry in the last half-century.

 

A growing number of people call for bringing outsourced jobs back to America. But if they return as shoddy, poverty-wage jobs — jobs designed for “Never-Never Girls” rather than valued employees — we won’t be better off for having them. If we want good jobs rather than just any jobs, we need to figure out how to preserve what is useful and innovative about temporary employment while jettisoning the anti-worker ideology that has come to accompany it.

And that means differentiating the US work force and making it highly specialized, and attuned to a new world in which increasingly more unskilled labor is being outsourced or outright replaced by conveyer automation and robotics. Alas, that means providing incentives for people to get off the couch, learn a skill, and specialize. And that, courtesy of that other central planning tenet, namely providing each and everyone with just the barely sustainable minimum of welfare entitlement to keep people satisfied and voting for the same person over and over, guarantees that more will fall into the trap of having no marketable skills, and be without even part-time opportunities.

At least, until the welfare funding runs out. Then things get really ugly.

 

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Thu, 01/31/2013 - 02:22 | 3201668 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

You sick bastard.

Wait, I was looking in the mirror when I said that.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:39 | 3200538 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

We really don't have 'capitalism' - where better products sold at a better pricve prevail in the market.  We have 'CRONY Capitalism' where companies limit competition through influence in government and produce inferior products (keeping government regulation at a minimum to do so) while using their influence to keep labor costs down - or better yet, outsource production overseas via 'free trade' agreements while minimizing tax obligations to government.

The vast cost savings incurred over he past 40 years through increased productivity have NOT been shared with those actually producign goods and services - the excess profit has gone to a very few executives (not even the shareholders/owners of a company).

With technological progress like CNC machining and robotics, we COULD be paying workers more and having them work fewer hours  but instead we seek to pay workers LESS while demanding they work longer hours.  Wherever possible companies seek the lowest possible labor costs through outsourcing labor intensive operations to places that pay low wages or endeavor to bring in cheaper labor to compete with US workers to drive wages down (H1B visas at the top for things like programming and illegal immigrants for less skilled jobs that cannot be offshored).  Government not only allows this but encourages it via 'free trade' agreements.  How is it that banks receiving billions in aid are STILL offshoring jobs in A/P, A/R and Purchasing instead of being forced to repatriate the jobs they alread off-shored in D/P, Call Centers and such

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:07 | 3200594 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Your post would be relevant if you had an actual logical argument, wtihout it you are just another demagogue like most anti-Capitlists here.

 

Capitalism has never actually been allowed to exist anywhere in the world. There have always been state actors to distort it, and to manipulate it to their advantage. We call them rent-seekers. So it's impossible for anyone to say that it is Capitalism at fault. In reality seince the state actors and interventionsists along with the rent-seekers have always been around, it's more likely that they themselves are the root cause of the financial troubles of the world. In fact if we look at how many failed investments that the state and government have made along with the corruption and graft created and made possible by those institutions it become more and more likely tha they are the root of the problem.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:14 | 3200646 akak
akak's picture

I do not even use the emotionally-charged, vague and imprecise word "capitalism" in conversation, much preferring the unambiguous phrase "free enterprise" instead. 

Let the statists of all stripes come out and boldly attack that instead (if they dare).

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:17 | 3200661 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

You have a point. Capitalism has been around a very long time though. As Rothbard pointed out the Socialists like to say Marx coined the term, but he actually did not.

 

Not enough people know history well enough to expect them to understand though.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:01 | 3200784 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Adam Smith warned about it, but since there's never been such a thing as "capitalism" anywhere in the world, why would anyone bother trying to defend it?

'Cause it's a religion.  And just as rational.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:26 | 3200841 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

You must not get out much, or have cable.  Turn on MSNBC.  That discredits your, "forbiddent to... criticism of capitalism" comment.  Also, you may not have noticed that more than 50% of Americans voted to re-elect a socialist for president.

A poll at the DNC convention showed 53% of democrats favor socialism.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 22:07 | 3201062 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

jplotinus monolized the speeching means when mouthing these wordings:

Tylers, would you please take into consideration that in America it is forbidden to say, publicize, print or publicly disseminate any fundamental criticism of capitalism.

Well, here you are. You are playing the same kind of games, and that in real life. How lucky you are.

You might be able to get away with saying, as you have, that "the US has now become an "employers' market." But, you are not allowed to say that capitalism actually seeks, covets and strives to pay people as little as possible and to keep them insecure and dependent.

Totally off. The US strategists are not that dumb. That is not because you disagree with them they are wrong.

An idiocy as there is always something wrong/good in any condition. Outsourcing is the result of internal pressures and at start, was expected to benefit from a world tour of misery.

The only valuable information is people claiming truth can not accept truth when it does not satisfy their ego. You sidetracked on dilution of money for any cause you did not declare.

But hey, some wants to be at the top and are ready to lie for that.

ZH posters love to bandy about terms like "private sector this" and " free market that." However, they do not acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for the logical outcomes of what they purport to support.

It is known that commonly, on websites, US citizens like to imply that Zimbabwe is for something in this crisis. Same with cars and all the rest.

Capitalism is the culprit here, pure and simple.

A win/win situation. Times by their own standards should consider themselves a piece belonging to the past.

Telling no tax money is involved. Quite easy to check: take your own flamer or borrow one and burn it up. You might die in the process but empirical science will grow victorious.

That is what must be overthrown if people in America are ever to be restored to a place where secure jobs with living wages and decent benefits and a secure retirement are to be had.

First, people dont think to breath. Breathing is operated through the autonomic nervous system.

Second of all, the land does not matter. A breath taking statement not shared by many people in the past.

Capitalism is manifestly incapable of doing that. In fact, good jobs are not even a goal of capitalism. Good jobs mean it's an employees market, something that is anathema to capitalism where employers markets are the desired outcome.

Reading you, I am under the impression that because of mass energy conservation, you somehow postulate the possibility of perpetual movement. Mass-energy conservation? What do you mean exactly?

The article is a good one. It becomes a better one when its observations are used to think the matter through to the root source of the problem.

That would be capitalism.

Dimensioning, scaling is based on the principle. Given the benefits this principle delivers, maybe indeed, it is once again a matter of defining worthless. This useless metric yields a direct means of comparing two systems one with another as it is easily leads to measuring efficiency.

It is funny how ideologues love to side track a topic to avoid facing the facts related to it.

Actually, in Belgium, once you lost a leg, the other one gets more valuable. Therefore growth. For a pegleg manufacture, someone losing a leg is a financial plus only if the person has the means of interacting with the pegleg manufacturer.

There are many more but hey...

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 22:12 | 3201075 scrappy
scrappy's picture

How about the "Last Ditch of Capitalism" instead?

 

Marx hated it.

The Oligrachs hated it.

 

Then it might be worth a look see...

http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Andelson_HGRC.html

 

Here's the simplified version.

http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm

 

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:26 | 3200493 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

how low can you go

but look at the bright side

today's poverty dollars buy less than yesterdays!

Thank you Gentle Ben

even your effects are grizzly  

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:33 | 3200518 The Heart
The Heart's picture

There are brighter sides of the coin. Everybody can grow a garden this year, if they make it through the corporate gaubumint police state take over and war declared on the American peoples.

http://garydbarnett.com/GDBdaily/?p=1463

But keep playing the game sheeple, ya gotta try harder to get a PhD so you can earn more right?

http://dollarcollapse.com/welcome-to-the-third-world/welcome-to-the-thir...

Can you say collage bubble-blut-glut? We see a sewage tunnel pouring thousands of graduates into the lines of employment at wal-mart and that new industry, mcdonolds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A75KERKwEQM

So start a war, or what, another false flag?

Got cheesy-puffs?

 

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:37 | 3200530 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

why can't we all just work for the govt-all of those assholes make 6 figures

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:48 | 3200754 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Take the blue pill and you're in.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:41 | 3200544 jplotinus
jplotinus's picture

"Lower the poverty line.
Our poor would be considered rich in most of India and China and Africa and South America, as well as many other places."

Yes, lowering the poverty line would work!

Let's also then take this to its proper conclusion:

America is a poor, backwards Third World country.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:19 | 3200670 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Hard to be Third World when the Cold War ended 20 years ago. Really wish people would quit using those terms already.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:45 | 3200559 citizen2084
citizen2084's picture

You want good jobs, amerika wake the F up, you should be lucky to get minimum wage jobs. I have off shored many jobs and use a material temp force for my entry level positions. 

It isn’t just the wages. In the states where I employee temp labor, I pay more per hour.  But I am freed of the reg bull shit and indemnified from some loser who is offended by a joke in the break room.  Or the flusy in the mini skirt who doesn’t like the being stared at by someone. The regulation headaches are far worse than than the wages.

Off shore? In America, entry level positions have a 10-12% attendance loss daily. If there is a flake of snow or two it jumps to 25-30%.  In manila, during a freaking typhoon, 2-3% attendance loss. Hmmm. 

Americans lost the will to work and the government put too much burden on me to try to finds the ones that still do want to work. You think Part time is big now…wait till the blessing of Obama care AKA the Affordable Care Act, which will be as affordable as the patriot act was patriotic.

We have lost all values. Sorry healthcare & education are not rights as posted on the CHS blog earlier today they are the sickcare, and college cartels. Govt force to rob after 2 generations of public school brain washing to get the masses to buy in to the BS.

Now the NYT posts about this because the author has experienced it with “adjuncts” in his cartel, if you could get a tenured professor to work for a living the staffing industry would not have been brought in schmuck!

Liberty was the gift which all others flowed from and we have given it away.  No we are all screwed good job America, the hell hole is coming. 

 

peAce

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:27 | 3200705 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

"It isn’t just the wages"...

Government has played the role of third party interloper for decades now. I recall back in the 80's the union guys I worked with were getting $14/hour to drive a forklift for 2 hours and fuck the dog for the other 6 hours. Minimum wage (as is today also) is nothing more than a base number to employ young kids.

Current wages for the same union job today hasn't changed, except you actually have to fucking work the whole shift, and your wages haven't increased in decades. Oh, and you now have to have a drivers license and take an expensive course to learn how to drive a forklift these days.

Most union contracts back in those days allowed for a 3 month period for the company to assess the ability of a new worker. We simply started firing the new hirees after 2.5 months before they reached union status. As the long term union guys either quit or retired we never let any new/replacement employee get past the 2.5 month assessment date.

The union guys finally caught on, and started wondering why they even gave a fuck to begin with. About a year before the company shut down for good, the head union negotiator (who all the union guys loved) jumped ship and went to work for MANAGEMENT at NESTLE as their head negotiator AGAINST Nestle's union!

That's Karma, Bitchez!

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:59 | 3200899 Pareto
Pareto's picture

gotta love self interest and "for the lack of a better word, greed.....greed is good."  Incentives matter, but somehweres along the way, the western world( not just Americans), decided that self interest isn't noble, efficient, fair, or moral.  So, we brought in socialism and corporate fascism, and now we have the corrupt (zero accountability), inefficient ($16T debt), unfair (more different rules for siferent people) and totally immoral (paying other people's pensions for a lifetime).  Is it too late to turn around and go back to "greed is good?"

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:06 | 3200796 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

Citizen, you gave a great quote with ''the Affordable Care Act, which will be as affordable as the patriot act was patriotic'',  good work.  So many government acts, and agencies are mislabeled.  'Homeland security agency'', 'Airline passenger protection act', 'Nuclear regulatory comission', 'consumer protection agency', to name a few. I have yet to meet a federal agency whose rules make rational sense for their stated purpose.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 22:23 | 3201111 scrappy
scrappy's picture

Build your "Lifeboat" - and pass it on...

http://theautomaticearth.com/Lifeboat/how-to-build-a-lifeboat.html

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:48 | 3200567 EndTheMedia
EndTheMedia's picture

Hey its a servant oriented economy.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:53 | 3200573 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

yep, I was self employed for 12 years but since 2008, collapse of by small business. 2012 gross around $7000.00, this year maybe $15,000 as a W2 slave, as my current employer only hires part time.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:02 | 3200597 Skip
Skip's picture

Something I NEVER see discussed in the national mainstream media is the effect of legal immigration on American workers especially white American workers.

Tech companies, Lewis said, “do not want to employ Americans. They import labor from overseas, pushing for H-1B visas. Check the job boards. They basically say, ‘H-1B Visa. Americans need not apply.’ ...Now white men are being forced to train their replacements.”

Asian workers now dominate Silicon Valley tech jobs, San Jose Mercury News, November 30, 2012

At 4:16PM Anonymous said:

Once the Hindu-Indians take over the whole IT department (Hindu only IT ghetto), the following series of events takes place-

1. Hindu-Indian programmers further divide into two groups (North Indian Hindus and South Indian Hindus). This dividing process takes in few weeks.

2. North Indian Hindu programmers further divide into five groups (Punjabis, Gujarathis, Marathis, Bengalis and the rest). This dividing process takes in few months.

3. At the same time, South Indian Hindu programmers further divide into four groups (Telugus, Tamilians, Kannadigas and Malayalis). This dividing process takes in few months.

4. Only one of the nine above mentioned sub-groups finally 'survives' and 'occupies' the whole IT department. This dividing process take at least a year.

5. Among the final group, each Hindu-Indian IT programmer tries to bring their spouse/sibling by eliminating other ones.

6. So, the left overs in this final Hindu-Indian programming group will be a couple of 'families' and 'extended families'. The cubicles will become their 'homes'.

Life of an I.T Grunt

 

Can A Country With A Million Legal Immigrants A Year Ever Afford GOP Tax Cuts?

American Job Displacement Continues In November—But Bernanke Plans To Suck In More Immigrants Anyway!

December Jobs: Hispanics And Immigrants Are The Only Winners. And an Immigration Moratorium Could Have Cut Unemployment In Half.

Hispanics are 16% of the labor force but they received 60% of the jobs created in the past year.


http://washtech.org/news/industry/display.php?ID_Content=5363

Another tech-worker, Diane Drozdowski, was forced out of her job at American Express in Phoenix, AZ. After her manager used "bully tactics and psychological warfare" to try to get her to quit, resulting in a mental breakdown, she was replaced by two Indian workers based in India. American Express flew these Indian workers to Phoenix and forced her to train them, upon threat of losing her severance pay.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:38 | 3200863 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

Of course they give the jobs to the legal immigrants!  They have actual skills!  Americans are going to school to get degrees in 17th century French poetry and ethnic studies.  Asians get degrees in math, hard sciences, engineering, and CS.  Plus, they have what Americans of an earlier had - a strong work ethic.  Americans these days are all too happy to collect their government benefits, smoke pot, and sit on their clinically obese asses watching reality tv or playing the latest stupid computer game (aka, the new opiat for the masses.)

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:51 | 3200893 dolph9
dolph9's picture

It's the white executives and their Jew financiers who are bringing in so many Asians and Mexicans into Amerika.

The white worker is chattel.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:03 | 3200607 giorgioorwell
giorgioorwell's picture

Do people on here really believe that US workers becoming more skilled and specialized will put anything more than a tiny dent in the huge emploment shifts that have occured in the last 30 years under globalization??  How many of these high tech, service type jobs do we really think can be created. Seems like pure fantasy to me.

I am in no way a fan of the Bernanke, but these structural issues would be here whether Bernanke printed or not....the Fed's printing and interfering hasn't helped the matter, and has probably made it worse, but the idea that if he hadn't done anything, we wouldn't still be faced with a large part of the population permanently unemployed because of the last 30 years of globalization is a fantasy.  

Even more of a fantasy, is the idea that it is possible to make the entire (or even a large %) of the working population of the US a "more specialized, with new skills, etc".  This is the fantasy of globalized free market fundamentalists (not local free market/free enterprise...there's a BIG differenc) that believe this huge international shifts in employment  are solved by adding new skills sets.

It's as much a utopia as any other crackpot ideas presented by economists lately.

A grand reset is needed, but unless that reset includes completey dismantling global markets and letting each country rebuild some semblance of an internally functioning economy without any federal interferance I don't see any of the suggesting in the above article making anything but the tiniest of differences.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:06 | 3200797 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Many folks just need stuff kept nice and simple.  Simply choose some group or policy, then BLAME IT.

When you see someone posting that our shitty employment in the USA is a direct result of unions/immigrants/negroes/taxes/liberals/Republicans/whatever, you can be 100% certain the commenter isn't very bright.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:45 | 3200871 giorgioorwell
giorgioorwell's picture

Yep, the oversimplified blame game is the game of our decade/s.... but outside of all the commenters on this board which seem to get worse each month, it's disturbing to see even the ZH staff (however many Tyler's that is) making some of the same suggestions/conclusions in the article above.

Maybe I'm misreading the ZH interjections throughout that posting, but they seem to also suggest towards the end that just removing the Fed, learning new skill sets and American's "getting off the couch" will somehow solve this low employment riddle which isn't much of a riddle at all to anyone with a longer view of things..

 

 

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 00:02 | 3201370 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Hey I got an idea - lower TAXES - capital gains tax at 15% - fuck make the income tax rate 15% for everyone (fuck poor people).

It has worked everytime it has been tried....

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:21 | 3200612 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

This story goes back to the days of the Pharaohs.   When Moses leveraged "God" to have Pharaoh let his people go, little did he know that the oppressed would become the (monetary) oppressors and modern Pharaohs.  If you are in denial, them "Get out of da Nile!"  If you are a 'shill' or 'agent provocateur':  Piss off!

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:08 | 3200619 GNWT
GNWT's picture

 

party like it's 1999...

 

with the Silver Liberation Army...

at...

 

www.ZIRPinUSA.com

 

 

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:13 | 3200650 H E D G E H O G
H E D G E H O G's picture

at least the DC politicos won't sink beneath the poverty line this year because of their new pay raises.....................

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:25 | 3200695 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"How did we arrive at this state of affairs?"

"What does it matter!!!"

Until a better quote comes along, I'm using this for 2013.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:25 | 3200696 pashley1411
pashley1411's picture

Increasing the take-home value of labor isn't hard to imagine, but politically impossible to implement.

You would have to pull the value of that labor away from corporations, government taxes and regulation, social welfare programs, generation transfer programs,     It would involving reining in each and every government agency, implement policies where a couple raising a few kids in Ohio is more important to America than arming guerillas in bumfck Syria, golf fees for the golden oldsters in Florida, happy meals for welfare families in Detroit, bankster bonuses in New York.

William Douglas, the freedman, once wrote that a crucial aspect of maintaining the free status of black Americans was the cartridge box.   

   

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:47 | 3200752 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

well said.

that being so...what gene exists in shareholders/corporate management that makes them wish to maximize profits by corrupting politicians into creating poverty? surely they have to see that if there is less poverty there are more potential profits?

what makes a CEO throw americans out of work, avoid paying taxes, borrow and invest overseas?

similarly, what gene makes politicians engage in corruption by being defending their own interests at the expense of everybody else's?

finally, what gene is it that makes central bankers print trillions of dollars that it would take the entire population centuries to fund out of savings?

is that gene related to how many guns they have or a driving need to screw everyone else so that they can feel "safe"?

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:36 | 3200722 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

The federal poverty line should be renamed to the democratic voter entitelment bribe line.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:42 | 3200739 steelhead23
steelhead23's picture

"And that, courtesy of that other central planning tenet, namely providing each and everyone with just the barely sustainable minimum of welfare entitlement to keep people satisfied and voting for the same person over and over, guarantees that more will fall into the trap of having no marketable skills, and be without even part-time opportunities."

Whoever wrote this is channeling George Gilder.  This is a master-slave frame - that in order for society to function, bosses have to kick their slaves to get them to work.  Try a different frame.  The need for humans to socialize, due to inherent weaknesses has led to genetic characteristics to make the individual acceptable to society.  Among those characteristics is a desire to be useful (or to be seen as useful).  That desire to be useful leads to a desire to work...  Now, I would agree that the welfare state undermines this innate disposition, but you cannot undo eons of evolution with 50 years of epigenetic stimulus.

Seiously my ZH friends - is renumeration the only reason you contribute to society?  Does anyone here volunteer?  Also, I encourage everyone to learn a bit about cognitive science so such framing becomes obvious and you can escape the trap.  Read George Lakoff.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:29 | 3200846 Shigure
Shigure's picture

I volunteer! Currently treasurer for a small community gardening group and Saturday helper.  Previously treasurer for a local charity and for a not-for-profit community orchard.  Helped to start up a community growers group too.  There's so much work to do and not enough money to pay for it, sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it.  I am just one insignificant person with limited power to change things for the better, but I do what I can with the resources I have.  Volunteering is great - you meet wonderful people, learn new things, have variety and new experiences and benefit others.  Time is more valuable than money, live life.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:46 | 3200745 FunkyOldGeezer
FunkyOldGeezer's picture

Anyone who actually has to rely on lower paid jobs could have told you (Tyler) that this was happening well over a decade ago. This isn't exactly news to anyone except the aforementioned mainstream media.

Even the crappy jobs are more badly paid and this was always going to be a bottom up phenomenon.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:49 | 3200756 rockraider3
rockraider3's picture

This is easy to fix, just lower the poverty line.  By debasing the currency, that is what they are shooting for anyway, a lower standard of living that competes with export nations.  So let's not cover it up with made up poverty lines and lower it to the goal.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:49 | 3200760 DOT
DOT's picture

The "embodied mind" indeed.  Very interesting stuff.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:59 | 3200779 reader2010
reader2010's picture

What is totally beyond me is so many are so fond of distraction toys, such as iPhones, iPads, etc. I simply dont understand their desire to be constantly distracted. 

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:06 | 3200801 akak
akak's picture

I have wondered the same thing myself.  My working hypothesis is that when one's emotional and intellectual life is fundamentally empty, one needs something, no matter how trivial, to fill the void.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:30 | 3200850 espirit
espirit's picture

I'll go along with that assessment.  Their general description of the malais is "I'm Bored".

Not enough hours in the day for me personally.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:34 | 3200975 centerline
centerline's picture

I've wrestled with this one as well.  I think the biggest component here is that most people sense on some level that something is terribly wrong but aren't sure exactly what.  They feel powerless though.  Instead of attempting to figure out what is going wrong (which takes effort and can be uncomfortable), devices and social media offer an easy escape.  Any time, any place.  Becomes an addiction for many.  Damn quick too.  Is our equivalent of the "centrifugal bubby puppy."  The movie Wall-E was fun to watch in this regard.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:01 | 3200787 ramacers
ramacers's picture

 

to wit:

anyone with experience in residential real estate need only take a keen eye to the condition of the country's housing stock. neglect due to penury is really starting to take a toll. it's a ticking time bomb.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:05 | 3200799 Dr_Lucid
Dr_Lucid's picture

Companies keep creating so many temp / low paying / garbage jobs because there are so many people who still have no clue as to what they want to be when they grow up.  The 30-40 yr olds have spent their "disposable" income over the last 10 years like they were C level executives. People out there are living like its 1999 and have not realized the lifestyle they created simply does not exist anymore.

The lobsters and dump trunks wake up in the morning hoping that if they could just find "something" it will press the pause button and allow them to coast along for a few more years.  The pause button keeps getting harder and harder to find, so they keep taking lower and lower paying jobs with no benefits and no security. 

 

 

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 00:05 | 3201379 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

AND??????

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:06 | 3200802 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

one of the chief goals of every recession / depression since 1973 has been to impoverish america. it is no accident that these recessions have been harsh especially during the 1970s and early 1980s....the goal is to have cheap labor.....this is what the rockefeller axis of evil wants.....it means control over serfs and waifs.....the walmart culture...and globalization was the bedrock of that strategy.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:15 | 3200818 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

While the Fed has had a negative effect on employment as described, there are two likely more important factors... First, a significant portion of the American population who are the primary holders of those temporary, part-time, low skill jobs are as intelligent as your average sofa.  Don't get me wrong, depite "living in poverty", they know how to start their Escalade, change the cable box connected to the their 55" HD flat panel from Springer to Cops, and they can play Angry Birds on their Obama smartphone with the best of them. (Maybe we need to re-define "poverty")  They just don't have any skills that employers actually need.

The other important factor is.... Obamacare. By the end of this year, every employer with more than 50 employees must provide healthcare to all full time employees.  The obvious solution to avoid being slammed with the Obamacare boondogle is to hire only part-timers or outsource overseas.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 03:17 | 3201716 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Then the solution to that is to penalize both practices - temping and outsourcing overseas - and to make the numerical limits 0.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:21 | 3200838 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

That "poverty line" is probably not adjusted for true inflation so the picture is worse.

Just as the solution to the debt crisis is more debt, the solution to the unemployment crisis is to bring in more cheap labor.  Amnesty will bring millions out of the shadow economy and into that "below the poverty line" stat.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:47 | 3200876 GNWT
GNWT's picture

 

 

party like it's 1999...

 

with the Silver Liberation Army

 

at

 

www.ZIRPinUSA.com

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 20:47 | 3200880 dolph9
dolph9's picture

People here can speak for themselves.

I for one pity the poor fools who are trudging to their full time "jobs", thinking they are "making a difference" and going to be millionaires.  It never occurs to them that they are merely continuing the Ponzi scheme known as Amerika.

 

Let's get this crash on the road.  Let's celebrate the end of work...let the disability cheats and anchor babies and ghetto queens and aging boomers consume what's left before system reset.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:01 | 3200907 Dre4dwolf
Dre4dwolf's picture

They will just lower the poverty line, thats obviously the solution, we are gona limbo the economy "how low can you go ?"

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:04 | 3200913 GNWT
GNWT's picture

party like it's 1999...

 

with the Silver Liberation Army...

 

at

 

www.ZIRPinUSA.com

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 01:36 | 3201570 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

GNWT: Sorry to disappoint you... we don't click on spam blogs or website links here. If your sorry attempt at spam is to try and get Google links and ad clicks, well, you're still fucked. Your attempts at gaining page views or Adsense clicks will be for nothing when you get tired of your own efforts, only to realize you do nothing but piss people off with your spam that generates mere pennies from Google ads for your efforts. You will get tired of spending hours spamming the comment sections of blogs, websites, and Eric Holders porn account.

Believe me, I know. I did a test back in 2007/08 to see how much revenue I could generate from NEW websites that I loaded with Google ads and actual informative content. You know what I made on Google ads that year?... $128.00.

I still have about 6 websites that I left up and running after my year long test. Since 2008 those sites have generated another $64 in revenue in the past FIVE YEARS.

Bottom line: Idiots that come to ZH hoping to chase free money from Google ads by spamming links to their own blogs or websites are soon disappointed. You are the latest kid on the block. Angrysinner (bobthehorse & his other aliases) are the most recent idiots spamming links to their worthless blogs.

Stick around if you have something to say. Fuck off if your only purpose is spamming your blog/websites.

EDIT: As I click on GNWT's account profile I get "access denied". I guess that means Tyler has already tossed you.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:10 | 3200929 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

A quarter of all jobs pay below the poverty line for a family of 4? How many families of 4 are there here?

Maybe 25% of the workforce doen't need to support a family of 4? Lots of students, trainees, pensioners who want a little extra cash, wives/mothers who only need part time work don't expect to make enought for a family of 4. Not to mention not being skilled enought to earn more.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:26 | 3200959 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

I think the point is that there is not a lot of money being made out there, that inspite of what the government tells us the economy is shrinking, not expanding. The gov't is doing us all a disservice by not admitting that even harder times are coming. We need a plan to fix a broken system. Not a plan to misinform so that the gross misallocation continues, making things far worse in the future.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 21:12 | 3200935 caShOnlY
caShOnlY's picture

no big deal, just have GM announce the NEW 120 month car loan..... VOILA!!! everyone gets a new car!!!!

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 00:04 | 3201381 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Great idea. A ten year loan for a car that has a 5-7 year shelf life if you never drive it and do all the scheduled warranty maintenance. Sign me up!

I drive a 1988 Ford pickup that I've owned for 5 years. I paid $1,000 for it and my expenses over 5 years are $600 (not including gas). There's not a hope in Hell that any new car dealer will ever see me again in my life time. Where I live, I can budget $2,000 per YEAR and buy another 2 used vehicles that PASS inspection. All I need is willing drivers to fill the seats and we'll take over the world in a bunch of rust buckets without a shot ever being fired.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 08:48 | 3201949 caShOnlY
caShOnlY's picture

the new economy has the poor driving new and the middle class driving used.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 23:15 | 3201204 Plumplechook
Plumplechook's picture

This article is a bunch of fucking bullshit.   Wages for the unskilled in the US are not 'low' - they are simply a true reflection of what these people are worth now.

Wake up and smell the fucking coffee.  In case you didn't get the memo we now live in a globalised world where the shit we buy can be made anywhere.   We want to pay as little as possible for that shit - therefore every manufacturer will find the cheapest workers to make that shit.   Hence its a global race-to-the-bottom for unskilled wages.   There is no reason why workers here in the US should earn one cent more than the equivalent workers making the same shit in some hell-hole in India or China. 

What I hate is the sense of ENTITLEMENT of these fucking unskilled workers in the US.  Somehow they think just because they live here they should earn more money.  But WHY?  Consumers in the US dont want to pay more for the shit these local guys produce - and don't give a shit where the shit is made.   What we especially don't want is to support artifically high wages for these unskilled dweebs so they can live beyond their means.  That is totally unsustainable - and no US corporation can survive for long now paying over-the-odds to local workers.

The answer is simple:  the unskilled need to accept their real worth in this globalised marketplace.  If they don't like it then go get some fucking real marketable skills.

 

 

 

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 23:51 | 3201300 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Did anyone on ZH see the video of the news crew in Detroit film the Chrysler workers exiting the plant at lunch hour and load up in at least 3 of their personal vehicles to go DRINKING IN THE PARK during their lunch break?

Fucking hilarious and sad. The news guy had been stalking these workers for a WEEK and was finally chasing them and yelling questions at them but most tried to cover their faces (yeah, as their vehicles and plates were being caught on camera). About 18 drunken union rats were caught in a park at lunch hour pounding back as much booze as they could swallow (union rules???) and when they got caught they ran like the fucking entitled cowards they truly are.

Apparently this all took place A WEEK AFTER Oscammer made a speech at the same plant that just got a taxpayer bailout to save their jobs. They must have felt entitled to "celebrate"... for an entire week until they got caught drinking their taxpayer funded lunch hour away.

There is a YouTube video of this. I can't look for it because I'm using TOR right now. You ZH'ers are a smart bunch. Google it and watch your tax bailout dollars literally being drunk away. And of course, support the (drunken) American worker who just built your $50,000 new car.

EDIT: I see the UAW is familiar with the ZH red arrows.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 00:07 | 3201387 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

And all of them got reinstated at their jobs.

 

Who says you can't be a little drunk and high while putting cars together?  What can go wrong?

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 03:14 | 3201715 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Sounds like you have a grudge death-wish against these people and you assume that everyone can do as you say. 

Why yes, they have a right to be entitled to a lifestyle fit for being in a First World hyperpower.  Nobody's caring about the business' sense of entitlement to perfect workers and to be treated like they were the Divine Creator himself.

The only function of the world - as you see it - is to completely grind down the First World down to the level of the Third.  It does not work that way, and using the divisive term of "consumer" does not make it any more correct.

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 23:22 | 3201271 Quarky Gluon
Quarky Gluon's picture

Sure specialized skills will work for a while in improving employment but eventually even those jobs may be replaced by robots with artificial intelligence.  Then what?  Are the very few elite that own all those robots be the only ones with any wealth or income?  While some of those elite may give away some of their wealth as charity to the rest of us without jobs or income and struggling with poverty, most will not.  The only solution as I see it is for the government to step in and force a redistribution of wealth because the government will be the only entity with enough power to carry out such an act.  Without the government we will only be left with mere hope that the wealthy elite will have mercy on us and give us a few bread crums so we can at least eat. 

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 03:01 | 3201701 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Over two years ago (and reiterated last year) Zero Hedge first wrote on what was and is an undisputed transition within the US labor force: a shift from full-time to temp, or part-time labor, with virtually no contractual or welfare benefits, and where workers are lucky to get minimum wage. This is because in the "New Normal" where copious amounts of structural slack are pervasive due precisely to the Fed's constant flawed micromanagement of the economy, the US has now become an "employers' market."

If we want good jobs rather than just any jobs, we need to figure out how to preserve what is useful and innovative about temporary employment while jettisoning the anti-worker ideology that has come to accompany it.

This would be the place for Right to Work to be applied - where you are not required to be a temporary/staffing agency worker to accept employment.  If a business wants temporary workers, it will have to provide a superior argument.  Otherwise a business would have to accept that they can't push around workers by making them accept (perma)temp work.

That, and I'd not mind seeing an employee-side Jackson Lewis grind temp agencies to the ground - with a 96%+ success rate.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 05:54 | 3201814 Harrison
Harrison's picture

Funny how the article doesn't mention that a "family of four" generally has TWO people bringing in wages, which would mean that all that has to happen is for both husband and wife to work in order to generate above-the-median household income.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 09:16 | 3202008 Aegelis
Aegelis's picture

I can't read all these comments, they've gotten way too judgemental of people they don't even know.  Sure there are drug addicts and slackers in society, but there are a whole lot more who work hard trying to do the right thing.  Throwing low-income earners all together into one pot just makes commentators look pretentious, clueless, and useless.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:49 | 3202178 El Hosel
El Hosel's picture

$23,000 was plenty of money when gasoline was 70 cents and a happy meal was $1.99.  The US allows the Bankster bosses and other elites to embezzle Trillions of dollars at the expense of the bulk of the citizens.... hows that working out so far? Works fine if your income is great enough to absorb all the non-inflation that is floating around... The other 90% not so much.

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 14:33 | 3203238 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

If you are looking for sympathy or compassion on here for the working poor you aren't going to find much generally.  Ditto a host of other issues too.  

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 14:30 | 3203222 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

I always find it ironic on here how there is a extremely liberterian bent with people pissing and moaning about gov't involvement/unions/etc yet when capitalistic practices by large companies are employed to find the cheapest sources of overall production & investing in technology to increase productivity (even if it displaces a lot of human workers) there is a huge uproar.  

 

 

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