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The middle class in America is shrinking; numerically in terms of the percentage of the total population, as well as qualitatively in terms of the quality of life.
The median net worth of a family in 2010 was $77,300, compared to $126,400 just three years earlier.
One of the greatest factors adversely affecting median household income is the loss of jobs and extended unemployment.
Earlier this month Forbes declared, that “The CPI is not a measurement of rising prices, rather it tracks consumer spending patterns that change as prices change.
According to the BLS the CPI was up 1.6% last year, and has hovered between 1-4% over the past five years. As best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele explain in their latest book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, “What is happening to America’s middle class is not inevitable. The solution to this malaise should be relatively simple, and recognized by everyone from the chairman of the Federal Reserve to the AFL-CIO. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published research two years ago that illuminates the role government has played in suppressing job growth. Periods of rising middle class income coincide directly to periods of economic expansion and growth. The job situation will not improve appreciably until the cost of doing business starts dropping. In 2012, the President said, “This country doesn’t succeed when we only see the rich getting richer.
The history of mankind is littered with fallen nations and governments that overreached by centralized planning, stagnated their economies, and collapsed under the massive weight of their inefficiencies. Succinctly stated, we have shrinking income, inflation in energy and food “skyrocketing,” as was predicted five years ago, a weaker dollar, a ballooning debt, and a national security-risking deficit.
It appears to be a game they’re playing, intended either to deceive the public, or to hold down social security costs, or maybe both. No One Here Gets Out Alive was the first biography of Jim Morrison, lead singer and lyricist of the L.A. Being born just after the depression, I remember a number of saying but that wasn’t one of them. You frame very well the issue of the shrinking middle class and the underlying factors why the US is economically following a similar historical path to other countries such as Argentina.
What I enjoyed also is how you explained the invalid nature of the oft quoted statistics of CPI and the distorted view of unemployment that does not paint a true picture.
You then further state how over regulation suppresses job growth and just as important better paying jobs that allow for individual asset building. I don’t disagree but don’t you think that we have a lack of ethical and innovative leadership in business whereby manipulative business practice leads to government regulation? Would you also agree that corporate governance needs to be overhauled just as much as the government regulation to generate value added activity and ethical responsibility where less regulation and market intervention is necessary? I totally agree about the unethical relationship between government and the business world.
I’m sorry I meant SGS, which I later found out referred to Shadow Government Statistics and produced by John Williams. Jay, I believe what SGS does with their chart is show what the CPI would look like if it was calculated the same way the BLS did in 1980. Here’s the Forbes piece I referenced in the column describing how the CPI calculation has changed and how meaningless it is now. This is a pretty good recapitulation of some of the key changes made to the CPI calculator, but it doesn’t appear to be complete. From your comments, I don’t believe you read the post that I gave on my previous blog. Substitution is explained by substituting a less expensive form of ice cream for the top of the line, if the prices for the higher quality ice cream rises 20% and the lower quality remains stable. It also mentioned that individuals gather monthly or by monthly prices of different commodities and then the CPI makes a comparison.
I cannot find how John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics formulates his prices; therefore, I can not make a reliable comparison. Generally speaking, rents going up is actually a reflection of the value of money going down (which is another way of saying the government is creating too much of it, or at least more of it than the country’s GDP would justify).
Prices of things more subject to volatile supply factors (a crop failure affecting food supply, for instance) frequently go up or down quickly for supply-related reason. Regarding Obamacare, you failed to mention that there are 800,000 family bankruptcies in the USA for Medical Bills that Obamacare plugged the risk with removing the Caps on what is covered. You failed to mention the Minimum wage, that if it had kept up with inflation should be about $16 an hour, like other countries around the world, Australia where the minimum wage in US dollars in $16 an hour. You failed to mention the tax laws that have been passed so guys like Mitt Romney who made his money by raiding Companies with M&A schemes to rob the Defined Benefit Pensions of the employees of these companies resulting in Mitt and his like buddies paying taxes at a 13% tax rate, while 1000 families with the same combined earnings as Mitt are paying taxes at a 45% tax rates. You failed to mention the schemes that allow Corporate Executives to be paid 90% in stock, taxed at 15% to avoid ordinary income tax rates. You failed to mention the Tax laws that give the Corporations a check for offshoring, moving jobs to China, India, Russia, Brazil and closing 135,0000 manufacturing plants over the last decade or so resulting in 5 or 6 million people losing their high paying manufacturing jobs only to face a job market where there are 3 applying for one job. In the meantime, bank robberies are up, with the cost cutting of the safety net for the long term employed. It’s true that corporations are entitled to deduct the legitimate business expenses involved with setting up new divisions overseas, or for that matter, anywhere whatsoever. Now try again with some real research, not just your opinions that you’re so mistakenly convinced are factual. It sounds like one solution is to encourage abandonment of both political parties, election law reform that breaks the monopolistic nature of parties, and campaign finance reform.
Just a couple of reality points substantiated by history cited by many folks of greater intellectual ability than I. Organized labor did indeed hasten regulation of capitalists who manipulated markets to not be free; and who likewise were unethical and dishonest in looking at labor as an expense as opposed to an asset. However, organized labor could not impede the offshore of manufacturing jobs once post WWII rebuilding was completed globally and countries directly impacted achieved economic competitive advantage in the world.
Also, how do we eliminate the cronyism of organized labor excercised by union leaders who likewise have exploited the working class that is well substantiated?
Historically, unions have been just as guilty of a level of cronyism with government as much as the corporate CEO. How do you think organized labor could productively work with corporations given the world is flatter in terms of markets than it was at the inception of the organized labor movement more than 100 years ago to bring back domestic value added manufacturing to support higher wages and standard of living for employees? What role can organized labor play in the development of the trades and vocational skills of our youth to provide a competitive workforce that can garner a starndard of living while providing a level of not just profitability but sustainability within an entity required to organize the means of production necessary to compete in world markets?
Do you see organized labor as a source of partnership with education or school districts to provide sponsored vocational or career training or apprenticeship for those students with a trade driven or aptitude that the schools no longer offer options as they did in the past? Regardless of whether we are talking about the sole proprietor, the home based micro entrepreneur, or the multi-national conglomerate, businesses ultimately do not pay taxes regardless of the system. They hold a fidiciary responsibility given to them by the government to remit tax based on transactions in the marketplace.
What is your proposal in terms of tax policy that would render a more equitable tax that can sustain our infrastructure and other public sector services that are considered utilitarian to be supported by citizens? Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly health tracking poll found that in February, 56 percent of the uninsured view the Affordable Care Act unfavorably. The percentage of uninsured with a positive view reached its lowest point since Kaiser began tracking reactions in March 2010 when Obamacare was passed into law.
Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous & 1800's Living History Encampment, featuring entertainment, demonstrations, and discussions related to trades and crafts of the 1800's.
Do you want to grow in your athletic ability, then the FCA Sports Camp is the place to be this Summer! With the news that Scottish Power has updated their business electricity and business gas tariffs , it is the ideal time to do a business energy comparison.
To understand what is driving business electricity prices this year, you only have to look at one of the fundamentals of electricity generation , primarily Coal.
The UK is now competing with an ever expanding and diverse set of country’s for a share of the worlds coal exports. The coal market spiked in January due to the worst flooding in three generations in Australia , Queensland accounts for just under 60% of global seabourne coal.
Coal and Natural Gas are a large part of our generation mix , the price of these key commodities are the driving force behind the current painfully high business electricity prices. Looking ahead to 2012 and 2013 , not many traders are showing confidence that the supply tightness of these key fundamentals will improve. A lot can happen in the space of a year , and nobody can be 100% sure where prices will be next year , but in my opinion it will take a big shift in world commerce patterns for the key fundamental commodities to weaken in price , thus lower business electricity prices.

The credit score of your business will affect the competitiveness of your renewal offer from your current supplier as well as any prospective supplier. Some customers may have been with a supplier for years and always paid by direct debit with no problem but on contract renewal the supplier suddenly wants a deposit or refuses to renew them, leaving them on very high out of contract rates. While we understand the commercial pressures on suppliers, we feel that a number of business energy suppliers are using this cynically as a way of renewing customers at higher prices.
The irony is that at least one of suppliers stating poor credit as an excuse for expensive unit rates has a credit score that they themselves would not take. For each pound spent on electricity powering Information technology and office equipment in a business, up to 33% is wasted. 40 pence in every pound of an average business’s total electricity consumption is down to IT and information systems ,energy efficiency strategies could lead to substantial savings. In the 50’s we were told that nuclear energy would be so abundant and so cheap that the energy supply companies would not bother metering it! There is a big question mark over whether competition of only 60% of the energy price could deliver what the business energy market requires, which is aggressive competition. Energy security should be undertaken on a national basis, the generating plant that powers our country should be owned by the state, not foreign governments or venture capitalists.
There was some volatility seen in power market on Wednesday, showing promise of some clawing back some of the previous sessions losses early on.
The afternoon period of trading saw a reversal of these gains, the whole of the power curve closing the day down.
Most of the losses were driven from the gas curve, which responded to a well supplied system and current demand levels being comfortably well supplied. Another good day of renewable generation was seen on Wednesday, wind and hydro generation combining for an overall 8% contribution to the generation mix. E.ON have finally followed the market and increased some of their business electricity tariffs.
Prices of both Maximum Demand Connect and 3 year access tariffs have increased in line with the rest of the market.
E.ON still remains a competitive business electricity supplier and these increases reflect the recent rise in business electricity wholesale prices . The recent sharp rises in business electricity and gas prices have caught a few people off guard. What has caught a lot of people out is the speed at which business energy prices has increased. I’m afraid there is not much good news on the horizon and these prices are here for the foreseeable with every indication that they will continue to increase for at least the next 18-24 months.
Business electricity prices should also be looked at closely always  make sure you use a broker that is UIA accredited and  compares the whole business energy market, not just a select few suppliers. Good luck and hold onto your hats, it’s going to be a bumpy year for business energy prices. Controversial energy company Business Energy Solutions is facing a class action from business customers who claim to have been misled into taking on hugely expensive energy contracts.Solicitor Christopher Newton, of Newtons Solicitors in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, told Financial Mail he had been contacted by several businesses unhappy about their dealings with BES and energy broker Commercial Power, both of which are owned by Andrew Pilley.
Last week, Newton successfully defended a hotel business in court against attempts by BES to disconnect it in a dispute over bills.He has had previous court dealings with BES on behalf of a number of small businesses and is now looking to mount a class action.
We are under no illusion; we understand the impact of high electricity prices on businesses.
Bluemark believes it is time that the government really started to act on the issue of electricity prices within the business sector, not just pay lip service to it. With prices on the rise again, it’s important to be conscious of your energy use for both personal use in the home and services for both large corporations and municipalities.
Try to find a provider of comprehensive power distribution solutions with a portfolio of medium and low voltage power distribution projects. While having cleaning crews come after hours is the least disruptive option to employees, having crews work during regular business hours can be a better option. Educate building occupants about the benefits of energy efficiency and promote their conservation of it.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires that vessels used for domestic shipping must be built in the United States, owned by U.S. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, shipping a 20-foot container of household and commercial goods from the East Coast to Puerto Rico on a Jones Act ship costs twice as much as shipping the same goods to the nearby Dominican Republic. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and Rita, the federal government waived the Jones Act to expedite the delivery of fuel.
Electricity prices in Hawaii are nearly double those in the state with the next highest prices, in part because Hawaii generates 75 percent of its electricity from petroleum and must rely on Jones Act vessels for all domestic oil shipments.
Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority reportedly pays as much as 30 percent more for liquefied natural gas because of restrictions on the use of foreign-flagged ships.
Jones Act proponents argue that America must keep its shipyards in operation in case that capacity is required in times of military buildup. The government should repeal all aspects of the Jones Act that interfere with the free flow of commerce. Facilitate the transport of goods between the continental United States and noncontiguous locations including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. More importantly, are we doing a disservice to the gold industry by calling gold a commodity? These investors are forecasting doom and gloom in our future and envisioning a time of collapsing prices in the markets.
Of course this is probably transitory but we note that rent inflation remains at 3.7% YoY - its highest since 2008 and definitively not transitory. And as the breakdown shows, energy and gasoline price soared in April - so are higher oil prices good or bad again? In contrast, the index for household furnishings and operations declined 0.4 percent in April, its largest decline since April 2010.
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes. What's that you say, they can't raise rates that high?  Oh, then welcome to the beginning of exponentially skyrocketing price inflation. THANK GOD THERE IS NO INFLATION and praise the lord they put up a sign to let me know the increase in price was really a "new low price".
Most of us consider ourselves to be members of the middle class, and we’re being squeezed by declining real income and rising expenses, as we increasingly shoulder the inflationary costs of corporate America, and the burdensome costs of government operations. Middle class is roughly defined as those households ranging in income from $25,500 to $76,500. In 46 of our 50 states, the poverty rates have increased over the past five years, and the national poverty rate is over 15% for the fourth year running. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Participation Rate, which is represented as a ratio or a percentage of the total population, is at the lowest levels in 50 years, with about 62.8% of the population working.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the most relied on figure for calculating the year over year inflation rate. But if the inflation rate were calculated now the same as it was in 1980, inflation over the past five years would’ve been between 5-12% per year.
Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. And prospects for improvement are virtually nonexistent since the basis for the middle class demise is causally connected with the policies emanating from, and firmly entrenched, in the nation’s capital.
In fact, the labor organization perhaps worded it most succinctly in a piece titled, “How do we fix the U.S. The committee reported, “Many regulations and legislation – both existing and proposed – exacerbate the uncertainty created by today’s volatile economic environment. Ronald Reagan once called jobs the “best welfare program.” And the best way for good jobs to be created is with a healthy economy that is vibrant, growing, adapting, and adjusting to global and domestic market vicissitudes. Last year the Small Business Administration reported that regulation costs American business $1.75 trillion per year, and costs small businesses as much as $10,585 per employee. Hopefully Bartlett and Steele are correct, that the utter collapse of the middle class is not inevitable.
Did you see on the chart where our inflation was last year if we calculated the CPI the way we did in 1980?
I found the equation that the consumer price index uses to formulate the cost of living, but I could not find the equation that Mr. It seems that the costs for energy and food are placed in their own columns, followed by the rest in a separate column. I think it mentions their are two specific ways it gathers data: Laspeyres and the lower bound formula.
You failed to mention the 1.5 million homes, every year, that are foreclosed on directly related to Medical Bills.

I suggest others do the same, start reading books, watch PBS, turn of Right Wing Nut radio, and expand your horizon.
I have done my homework and this article is so full of twisting the truth, amazing it is printed. In all of your garrulousness you failed to identify a single inaccuracy, in spite of your assertion. Clinton decision has opened the floodgates to further perpetuate capital cronyism you outline in your article. China and India are becoming ever more aggressive in their procurement of coal to drive their expanding manufacturing bases. Thermal Coal prices have surged since 2010 amid panic buying due to a softness of supply, prices have continued to rise with no sign of abating. Many business electricity suppliers are still shying away from 24 month and above fixed price contracts for large industrial consumers , which only shows how uncertain everyone is of future prices.
We have also seen in the last few months an increase in the amount of customers who are being asked for a security deposit before the commencement of a new contract. Computer manufacturer are urging public sector organisations to scrutinise the energy efficiency of IT equipment.
In my opinion, selling off of the UK’s nuclear infrastructure will prove to be the biggest mistake of a generation. Regardless of issues with safety and nuclear waste, I do not believe that by having new nuclear power stations in the UK will reduce prices to the end user. Maximum demand meters have increased by around 6% while the access tariffs have increased by a similar amount. For businesses that are coming up for contract renewal we would advise to compare business electricity offers closely from all suppliers and to use a business energy professional who understands how the differing pricing structure offered by business energy suppliers will affect your electricity costs. Prices had started to slowly drop month on month until the recent events in the Middle East and the natural disaster in Japan.
At a time when budgets are stretched to breaking point, the last thing that UK businesses need is double digit price increases. It is now imperative for your business to compare business gas prices with a professional accredited energy broker and to make sure your broker achieves the best possible prices for your business. We saw with our own eyes in 2008 how many SME businesses were left reeling from the doubling or trebling of their business electricity tariffs.
Highly efficient grid networks will provide the foundation for energy efficient infrastructures, buildings and industrial applications. He will assess how the building consumes and wastes power, helping to find areas where efficiencies can be made such as electricity consumption, building heat loss and inefficient systems. This reduces the time heating, cooling and lights are in use at night when just a few people are using it. This will use less power and create less heat to strain your heating ventilation air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Ask people to turn off lights in unused rooms just like they would at home, to not let water run unnecessarily in bathroom or kitchen sinks, to keep refrigerators open just long enough to remove contents.
It’s acceptable for a space to be a little hot or a little cold when not in use and there aren’t comfort concerns to be mindful of.
Earlier this year, New Jersey’s state Assembly voted 73-0 to ask Congress to modify the Jones Act after the state was unable to obtain readily available road salt during a severe winter storm.
Department of Defense has frequently leased foreign vessels to execute missions that required additional sealift capacity. Yet of the five shipyards that produce major vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard, only one also builds large commercial vessels under the protection of the Jones Act.
The indexes for apparel, for new vehicles, and for used cars and trucks also fell in April, each declining 0.3 percent. Markets are currently pricing in a little-to-no chance that the FOMC raises interest rates at its meeting in April. According to the BLS U-6 data, 13% of the population is still unemployed or underemployed, and marginally attached to the labor market. According to Forbes, the BLS has changed the way it calculates the CPI 20 times over the past 30 years, including new formulas and indices that have separated the volatile food and energy components and created a separate “Core” inflation rate. For example, average out-of-pocket healthcare costs have nearly doubled in just the last seven years, from $2,035 to $3,600.
Chamber of Commerce survey showed 74% of small businesses are positioning themselves to slash hours, lay off workers, or both because of increase regulation, primarily because of the Affordable Care Act. And the best way for that to be facilitated is to get government out of the way of trying to micromanage nearly every component of the economy. Just the costs of Obamacare, Financial Regulatory Reform, and new EPA regulations, are projected to increase that cost per employee as much as 30%, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
But for it not to be, a reversal of our current trend is critical, and the sooner the better. Many of the other points concerning the CPI are explained in the below address; however, I expect some have very little desire to find a different point of view by reading it. I had ten hours of in-depth research on this piece, and a couple of pasted links from you does nothing to challenge the veracity of the piece or the validity of the conclusions. To sell our infrastructure and then allow the purchaser to demand a minimum sell price for their competitors product seems absolutely crazy. In fact I think they will push prices up and to market nuclear energy as green because it reduces C02 emissions is just plain rubbish! Commodity speculators have been blamed for the surge in Oil and Natural gas prices which in turn have forced electricity prices upwards. We have seen a further round of price increases this morning and the prognosis for the coming year is not favourable. Many high street butchers for instance, were put in a very difficult position, for many of these businesses, electricity became their biggest overhead.
Making these spaces more efficient can save the taxpayer dollars, while improving private businesses helps the bottom line. This will help keep costs down and allow for spaces to be more ‘green’ which is not only the trend these days but is also the right thing to do for the planet.
A professional will know all the problem areas to look for and will know where to point you to find good solutions.
Reset thermostats if necessary to allow for these temperature changes based on hours of occupancy.
Policymakers should strive to provide the Navy and Coast Guard with the fleets they need and have requested instead of subjecting the entire U.S. Familiarize yourself with our legal and use policies every time you engage the site: they're updated constantly without notice. By some economist’s calculations, these changes have resulted in a significant dissociation between what the government reports as the inflation rate, and what we see in reality for the prices of goods and services that we buy. Investors Business Daily has a running list of nearly 300 large companies that are reducing hours for employees to get below the 32 hour threshold mandated by the Act. If the private sector didn’t have to work around overreaching regulation and interference, market efficiencies in the private sector could unleash the creation of jobs, market synergies, and economic growth. It was published in 135 countries and translated into Latvian, Polish, Icelandic, Serbian and 26 other languages. We could be approaching a situation similar to 2008 and prices may well even surpass the high prices of that point. While some of the things you can do to reduce your energy usage may cost money at the outset, over the long term, they will save money and are good for the environment. Also make sure equipment is high efficiency and replace old boilers, water handlers and air distributors. I can tell you from the conversations I have on a daily basis with people in this sector, they are struggling and if electricity prices reach the highs of 2008, the local pub and bistro may become a thing of the past. Much more so than the old, outdated, wasteful systems still found in some properties today. An example would be using more energy efficient equipment, such as Energy Star rated systems to replace outdated ones. Just because something works, doesn’t mean that it works well and may be costing you more than you think. By implementing just a few of these tips, you will be able to keep your costs low when energy bills rise again. The recreation index rose 0.3 percent in April, as did the index for education, and the indexes for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and personal care all posted slight increases.

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