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Do you ever wonder how one income families made ends meet back in the day?

Dad worked and Mom remained home to take care of the kids. I don't think the excuse can be things were cheaper back then, because you have to adjust for inflation, right? How does a family of, 5, live on one salary? Especially the blue collars.

by Anonymousreply 21711/21/2020

OP, you’re too stupid to be allowed on the internet. Go read a book. A real book. A history book.

by Anonymousreply 111/11/2020

You could look this up for yourself and find that yes, it is indeed inflation. People were paid better wages for goods that were lower priced. Now people are making a fraction of what they used to and goods cost much more.

by Anonymousreply 211/11/2020

Actually, if daycare has to be involved, mom has to be making decent bank to justify working. It is fucking expensive and when you add the cost of working like clothes, food and gas, it doesn’t make sense. Back when I was married, my wife didn’t go back to work until the youngest turned 5. It wasn’t easy financially, but from a mental health perspective, it was better for both of us and the kids. I miss those days.

But yes, once women entered the workplace, the government figured out that people had extra money on their hands and changed the tax code so that the woman HAD to work to pay the taxes. Only later did they come back in and give families with children a break through exemptions and credits and such.

That is where the inequity between gays and hets came along. Even in marriage, we don’t get the break they do unless we have kids. And usually we pay out the ass for said kids if we adopt. Hets can pop em out like pancakes in most cases.

by Anonymousreply 311/11/2020

people did not run out and buy the new latest object on a consistent basis.

Things were built to last so you didn't need to replace them every few years.

families only had one vehicle.

There was no technology like today, so they weren't buying computers, smart phones etc. That alone is an astronomical cost for those that have to have the latest one.

Kids weren't in near as many programs or activities as they are now.

and inflation. wages have not kept up with it.

by Anonymousreply 411/11/2020

OP, you're a fucking dumbass

by Anonymousreply 511/11/2020

Everything that's been said, but also - people just needed less stuff. No phones for every family member, no computer, no devices, no car for everybody, no zillion expensive activities. When I was growing up the household had one stereo and one TV and we all shared them. That was it for 'devices'. We played outside, went to the library and church and our relatives' houses, with the occasional day or weekend trip. We went out to eat maybe once a month at a fast food place or a family restaurant. We got new clothes and shoes for school in late summer and that was the bulk of the money spent on outfitting us for the year. The world was just less driven to consume and the pressure from social media, etc to do so was not there.

by Anonymousreply 611/11/2020

Why am I being called a dumbass? I'm just trying to initiate a conversation on here that is not another thread about the elections or that idiot Trump. Yes, I could have looked it up but I thought it would be fun discussion. So to all of you cunts, suck my cock.

by Anonymousreply 711/11/2020

OP it is 2 things - 1) inflection of prices and 2) declining salaries for the working and lower middle class, compared to cost of living.

My dad was an engineer and my mom stayed home 15 years. My neighbor - the dad was a unionized construction worker, in suburbia. The mom stayed home there, too. Salaries made it possible for both families. Not anymore.

Also back then, families were NOT drowning in consumer goods. Families had budgets and consumed within a budget. The culture was not so materialistic. Kids did not have closets full of clothes and dozens of pairs of shoes. There was 1, maybe 2 tv. 1 telephone. 1 car. etc etc.

by Anonymousreply 811/11/2020

Sorry I was typing when R6 was. So yes, same. Consumption.

by Anonymousreply 911/11/2020

Dad was paid a living wage in the Industrial Midwest so that mom could stay home and raise the kids. It wasn't 'pretty' work but it was what his father did. When boys graduated from high school, the majority had guaranteed jobs in whatever factory their fathers worked in. It was the rare kid who went on to college.

by Anonymousreply 1011/11/2020

There are plenty of post-WWII houses in the surrounding suburbs of my downtown area that are 2 bedroom/1 bathroom and less than 700 square feet. The lots aren't small, but they have small houses on them. Some have basements but many are just one floor houses. These are houses for people who live within their means. Also echo that wages have stagnated for blue collar and lower middle class workers.

by Anonymousreply 1111/11/2020

also unions helped. and a lot of companies paid for health benefits with no cost to the worker. No deductibles, no out of check payment. That saved a LOT of money.

by Anonymousreply 1211/11/2020

"There are plenty of post-WWII houses in the surrounding suburbs of my downtown area that are 2 bedroom/1 bathroom and less than 700 square feet."

And yet somehow people managed to live their lives quite comfortably in those houses. Thanks to HGTV, people sneer at houses that don't have 3 bathrooms (one has to be supersized master bath), a least one walk-in closet of minimum 100 square feet and the proverbial 30 foot long kitchen with stainless steel restaurant quality appliances (that will only get used to reheat take-out) and granite countertops.

by Anonymousreply 1311/11/2020


by Anonymousreply 1411/11/2020

My engineer dad's company paid medical, dental, orthodontist, and we had an immense country club with 4 seasons of indoor and outdoor activities, including pools, every possible sport facility, and 18-hole courses, all monitored and safe, and college scholarships. It was all whittled away starting in the mid 80s. Thanks Reagan.

In Europe, many towns now have wonderful public facilities like I enjoyed in the USA decades ago, not to mention - free medical, great public transport, affordable housing, free to cheap higher ed with stipends, and so on, and so on.

See, this is the point of living in a post-industrial very rich country. Good and secure standard of living for as many citizens as possible. But no, in the USA, all that had to be siphoned back to the rich. MAGA!

by Anonymousreply 1511/11/2020

Growing up in the 80’s, people could buy a house while working at a gas station or convenience store. This was still true throughout some of the 90’s.

by Anonymousreply 1611/11/2020

My dad bought our teeny 3 bdm/1 bath house on the GI Bill after WW11. Everything we had was from their wedding presents, or my mom made it. When she died at 89 she still used the same tea towels and potholders (I have them now), the same Kitchen Aid mixer, the same Pyrex mixing bowls and casserole dishes. The kids washed the cars for $1 and pulled weeds for $.25 a bag. Agree with R4 and R6.

Nothing was bought for the kids except for birthdays and Christmas, and that was sweaters and books primarily with one or two toys that were requested. Absolutely no long distance calls; you would write letters. In my family you simply didn't spend money and you were proud of it (Scots-Irish frugality). My mom sewed all our clothes and we wore hand me downs. We raised our own fruits and chickens, too.

by Anonymousreply 1711/11/2020

All of the things mentioned above, plus people used to get pensions. My dad worked a blue collar union job for 35 years, and ended up making almost six figures a year off his pension when he retired. We had free healthcare and dental. Companies used to take care of their employees.

by Anonymousreply 1811/11/2020

[quote] So to all of you cunts, suck my cock.

While I agree you shouldn’t have been called dumb based on the intent of this post, you do realize you’re on a gay message board, right? Telling someone to suck your cock is hardly an insult.

Unless you’re a fattie. Then I get it.

by Anonymousreply 1911/11/2020

So many good and true responses on this thread.

[quote] people did not run out and buy the new latest object on a consistent basis. Things were built to last so you didn't need to replace them every few years.

I’m 49 years old (real age, not Grindr 57 but saying 49) and my parents have had three main (i.e., living room) TVs my entire life. I’ve had 3 in the last 8 years.

[quote] Thanks to HGTV, people sneer at houses that don't have 3 bathrooms (one has to be supersized master bath),

And don’t forget “only 3 bedrooms? We have 3 kids!”

Since when does each child need his own bedroom? My brother and I shared a room until almost our teens.

[quote] Families had budgets and consumed within a budget.

My mother told me (many times, lol) that when we were young, she would go to the store with X amount of dollars. She needed diapers, food for the kids and cleaning products. Whatever was left over would be what she could afford for her and my father for dinner for the week. If that meant spaghetti, that’s what it was.

by Anonymousreply 2011/11/2020

The Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944 aka the GI Bill played a major role in the 1950s middle-class prosperity that allowed for a greater proportion of one income [white] families. It was racially discriminatory (of course).

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by Anonymousreply 2111/11/2020

EXCELLENT thread and commentary. It can all be summed up in a single word, “unions”. The destruction of unions perfectly parallels the destruction of the middle class. Don’t take this shit anymore.

If you own a business, I implore you, please be as generous as you possibly can with employees, push yourself. I say this as a small business owner who struggles to compete against large corporations. I cannot offer a full benefits package yet. So I try to offset that with paid time off, raises, bonuses, recognition. But I know that’s not enough, I want to be able to give people amazing healthcare too. A pension for them? I wouldn’t even think that’s possible for a small business, I don’t know how those were funded back in the day. Workers are taking it straight up the ass.

And don’t believe the lies that “we can’t afford to fix this” BULLSHIT. Look at Zuckerberg or Bezos. They could EASILY **double** everyone’s salaries and not even notice.

by Anonymousreply 2211/11/2020

I’m r20, just wanted to add I still remember going shopping with Mom and her having me enter things on what I can only describe as a manual clicker that added it up. It wasn’t a calculator and I can’t find an image on google, but when she put something in the cart she’d say, ok put on 80 cents; put on 1 dollar, so she could keep within her budget and know what to expect when she got to the register.

by Anonymousreply 2311/11/2020

manual counter. my grandmother used it all her life. into the 21st century! My father added everything in his head, through the shopping, over time. At the register he had nailed it every time.

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by Anonymousreply 2411/11/2020

My parents were married in 1945.

My father's take home pay was $37.50 per week and they were able to live on that in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

by Anonymousreply 2511/11/2020

That’s it, r24!!

I searched for a manual counter and came up with something like a doorman would use at an entrance to count the number of people going in.

Thank you!

by Anonymousreply 2611/11/2020

Whenever my parents were in a pickle financially my grandparents would help them out. One time our furnace had to be replaced in the middle of winter and my dad of course didn’t have the money. My grandparents paid for it. Thank God!

by Anonymousreply 2711/11/2020

The ATM and credit cards have allowed people to live beyond their means (myself included).

Back in the day, banks closed at 3pm on Friday and didn't reopen until Monday morning. (A few might have Saturday hours). But if you didn't have cash in your hand at 3pm on Friday, you were screwed. Some grocery stores offered check cashing privileges, but there were limits, and I grew up in a state where even the grocery stores were closed on Sunday.

by Anonymousreply 2811/11/2020

Another factor is that families are more spread out, geographically, than ever before. Having multiple people around in case of emergency, falling on hard times, needing an extra hand, to pop over to let the dog out, etc. It all adds up, not to mention the travel costs for gatherings. Grandma can't watch the kids because she's 1000 miles away and even if she was close by, she's busy working.

Of course, this only works out if your family isn't full of dysfunctional assholes.

by Anonymousreply 2911/11/2020

I inherited my grandmother's monthly budget book, which she started in 1929 when she married my grandfather. They lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Grandpa was a college professor and they were poor as church mice because academia paid shit and still does. One of his brothers worked in Detroit for an auto company and made bank.

They struggled by economizing like crazy, lots of things on layaway, and they borrowed money from relatives. Grandpa owned the same pair of 'dress' shoes for about 40 years, kept having them re-soled.

My father was born in 1929 in rural Oklahoma. His father fed the family by hunting and fishing, which he learned growing up as an impoverished hillbilly in Tennessee. They went to bed hungry a lot. Dad was lucky to be drafted for Korea, then he went to college on the GI Bill and was able to move into the middle class.

by Anonymousreply 3011/11/2020

The house I grew up in cost my parents $42,000 in 1970. Now it’s worth $1 million. But have wages grown 20-fold over the past 50 years? Of course not.

Similarly, in 1982 the private college I went to charged $9500 for room, board, and tuition. Now it charges $60,000.

by Anonymousreply 3111/11/2020

[quote]I inherited my grandmother's monthly budget book, which she started in 1929 when she married my grandfather.

[quote]My father was born in 1929 in rural Oklahoma.

Hmmm, sounds like grandma and grandpa were doing the dirty before they were married. Tsk, tsk

by Anonymousreply 3211/11/2020

As unions were slowly killed off by the GOP, wages stagnated

by Anonymousreply 3311/11/2020

My parents paid $15,000 for their first house in 1960 . It was 3 bedrooms,1 bath with a den , living room and kitchen . If it was over 1000 sq feet Id be surprised . Those bedrooms were tiny . When they sold it in 1980 they got $45000 . That same house sold last year for $185000. Its still just as small . My mother rarely worked ,an occasional part time xmas job was about it . My father supported a wife and 3 kids on a mail mans salary for many years,until he got a (union) job and started making serious money. By then the only one left at home was my youngest brother and boy,did he reap the benefits .He had everything . Nice clothes,a go cart ,car at 16 etc. My older brother and I grew up with nothing . But we werent hungry or homeless.

I remember about 15 years ago when my nieces and nephews were still fairly young they let it be known far and wide theyd rather have cash than gifts we picked out . And it better not be a 20 either. I said all righteee then,fuck you little brats and havent given them a present since. Kids these days look at you like youre stupid if you give them a cheap gift . If we'd have acted like that my parents would have smacked us into next week,and taken the gifts and donated them. I get that my brothers wanted to give their kids everything they could,but they raised a pack of selfish little assholes who dont appreciate anything.

by Anonymousreply 3411/11/2020

My dad bought a 4 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house w/ 2 car garage on an acre in the suburbs of a major city for $30,000 in 1972.

There were 8 of us and we had two cars, one a beater, one television, a stereo, one phone, a couple radios, lots of books.

My mother never worked outside the home or did anything for extra money.

Anyway, there's a book about this topic, called "The Two-Income Trap," written by one of Datalounge's favorites, Pocahontas Warren, and her daughter, named Pocahontas's Daughter.

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by Anonymousreply 3511/11/2020

I cannot for the life of me understand how parents pay for UC tuition for their kids which is around 100k per year. Who the fuck has that kind of money laying around?

by Anonymousreply 3611/11/2020

R32 First was maternal GP, second was paternal GP.

by Anonymousreply 3711/11/2020

My dad was a union carpenter from the late 1940s to the 1970s. We had his work truck, a nice new Buick, three houses, two TVs and a really nice stereo system. We were not poor. My parents saved a bunch of money and my mom was a housewife.

What’s different now? We had no computers (eventually we had a VCR), didn’t have a TV in every room. No cable bill. One landline phone. My mom didn’t own a lot of clothes. She owned one dressy dress. My aunt was a housewife too and was wearing forty year old shorts the last time I saw her. They put four kids through college, but she got a job to help pay for that. All their finances went towards education, fun but inexpensive vacations, and investments.

Everything we owned of value was real estate and cars. The house was tile floor, carpeted one room at a time. We kids had nice clothes, but our mom sewed a lot of them. A lot of moms did that. She was an excellent seamstress. Women were trained to cook and sew as kids so they could run a household. The dads I knew could all do basic repairs.

Our house was a mid century house, and very plain. The furniture was plain but sturdy. They never replaced anything but the sofa. There was a picture or two per room. My mom painted them. No bric a brac, no disposable plastic items. You bought something and you never replaced it until it broke or wore out. Most appliances lasted at least twenty years or more.

People didn’t waste money on crap. There were no funko pops, no vast collections of comics or anime or Beanie Babies. People went outside for entertainment, they didn’t hole up in their bunker and play with collectible dolls when they were forty. Nobody did that. No adults I knew had toys or comics.

People buy too many duplicate items now and too many items that wear out quickly, like cheap Walmart clothes or a thousand plastic items. Almost nothing in our house was plastic but the dish drain. There were no tables with a thousand framed pictures on them. No cluttered wall displays. No excessive tables or curios to stuff things in. You could walk across the room and it was completely open.

My dad made good money, but everything was an investment. We had a rental house. Everything was bought to last. My mom had a strict weekly budget. Rarely was there anything extra, unless they both agreed. She never bought anything retail. Most younger children had a pair of black or brown leather dress shoes for school, gym shoes or sneakers for playing, and that’s it. They wore play clothes at home and school clothes for school. People were drastically less materialistic. They lived their lives through socializing in person and travel, not by collecting objects. I think a lot of people today are substituting collecting things as a stress relieving strategy, instead of socializing with people, without realizing it.

People were not so competitive about their decor or housing. They lived comfortably, but didn’t need the latest novelty item. They had long term goals for their money - education, investment, retirement. Not, I have to have that shirt in every color. That was rare.

by Anonymousreply 3811/11/2020

Have a friend who earns a great salary with a wife who also earns well over 6 figures. They own 2 houses and a condo, renting out two of them. Though the friend always identifies as a democrat, he will bitch and moan about high taxes and how he has to watch expenses. He and I got into a heated argument about rent assistance due to Covid. He also wasn't happy with the additional federal unemployment program that ended in July. Doesn't believe the widening wage gap is a problem--why should we do anything about it? People need to buckle down if they want to earn more money.

Same friend shelled out 9K for his son and friends to celebrate his birthday at Disney World. Summers in Europe, skiing trips in the winter. Always cites how hard he works and how regular middle class joe schmoe he is.

by Anonymousreply 3911/11/2020

R39, that’s another thing people never did forty years ago, unless they were millionaires. Maybe not even then in some cases. Parties solely for children that cost thousands of dollars. Designer clothing for children. Designer sneakers for children. Anything that was high end where children were involved.

People thought children were too uncultured to appreciate any of it and would become entitled. I still think that’s true.

by Anonymousreply 4011/11/2020

It used to be possible to just buy an appliance once and have it last for decades. Stuff didn’t break down so much in those days because planned obsolescence wasn’t yet a thing.

My Mom is still using the electric can opener that she and my father got for their wedding in 1964. It works fine.

by Anonymousreply 4111/11/2020

[quote] And don’t forget “only 3 bedrooms? We have 3 kids!” Since when does each child need his own bedroom? My brother and I shared a room until almost our teens.

I agree with most of what's been posted above, but this one, I disagree with. Some people (kids included) really do need their own space, even if it's a very small bedroom. My brother and I were the two youngest in a family of 4 kids and we ended up sharing a room. Totally incompatible. Still incompatible, actually.

by Anonymousreply 4211/11/2020

Yeah, in 2014, I was still using a CRT tv that I bought used for $50. It was working fine til the last day I had it. I finally buckled and bought a flat screen tv to watch the World Cup (and sports in general). That flat screen tv lasted 4 years. I couldn't believe it and was scouring online for what could have gone wrong. Was informed 4 years was a good run for tv nowadays and I should just buy another one. I'm single. I have never had more than 1 tv in my home. Just doesn't seem right to have more tvs than people in a home.

by Anonymousreply 4311/11/2020

Your employer paid your health insurance and there were no deductibles. There were no subscription fees for watching TV or accessing other entertainment. Your rotary phone cost about $40 and lasted for years, if not decades. Appliances could last for 20 years or more. Even clothing lasted longer.

by Anonymousreply 4411/11/2020

If you grew up in a blue collar family back then, you know the answer. Dads worked two or more jobs back then. Just about every dad in our neighborhhood had a second job, either full time or part time. If part time, they also picked up other work whenever they could.

What changed was Dad always working, never at home, to Mom and Dad both holding jobs, and thus both having some free time.

Also, women not working was a brief cultural aberration limited to the relatively affluent and those who aspired to be like them. The majority of women have always had to work paying jobs, whether married or single. Many companies employed women and children to do piecework in their homes, so they may not have been working in a factory, but they were working.

by Anonymousreply 4511/11/2020

People didn't travel as much and take "family vacations" like people do now. I was a teenager (maybe 16) when I took my first long plane flight.

We didn't go out to restaurants and eat takeout food that much, either.

by Anonymousreply 4611/11/2020

My mother was a single parent but we managed.

by Anonymousreply 4711/11/2020

"Appliances could last for 20 years or more."

My parents bought an RCA Whirpool clothes dryer right after my little sister was born in 1956. My mom was still using that same dryer in 1980 when my little sister had her first child.

by Anonymousreply 4811/11/2020

[quote]My dad bought our teeny 3 bdm/1 bath house on the GI Bill after WW11.

OMG! Did I miss nine world wars?

by Anonymousreply 4911/11/2020

R49 you must’ve been in a COVID induced coma. 😂😉

by Anonymousreply 5011/11/2020

Here's my story. Parents married in 1949. My mother worked up until I was born. I came along in '52; my sister in '55. We lived in a fairly upscale area in the SF suburbs. 3BR/2BA brand new home in 1956 cost $22K. My mother didn't go back to work until I was in high school; then she only worked part time while we were in school. We had a '53 Chevy as our only car until 1964. We never went on vacations except for a week at a beach town, and twice to Southern California. I didn't get on a plane until I was 18, and that was only to fly within the state. Even though I probably could have gotten in to Stanford, I went to a UC because that's all we could afford.

The weird part is that I made FAR more money than my father ever did (even adjusted for inflation) and now I get a huge six-figure pension, but even though I never had children or a partner, I could never afford to live in the town I grew up in.

by Anonymousreply 5111/11/2020

R51 you have a pension? Marry me.

by Anonymousreply 5211/11/2020

[quote] We lived in a fairly upscale area in the SF suburbs.

R51, I used to live in SF. Could you say what you mean by "SF suburbs"?

by Anonymousreply 5311/11/2020

According to an inflation calculator, 22K in 1956 is 210K in 2020. Can't even get a studio condo for 210K never mind a house.

by Anonymousreply 5411/11/2020

[quote]People were not so competitive about their decor or housing. They lived comfortably, but didn’t need the latest novelty item. They had long term goals for their money - education, investment, retirement. Not, I have to have that shirt in every color. That was rare.

The 1980s really got the ball rolling on materialism and competing with/comparing yourself to others. When I was in junior high (circa 1981), wearing the right styles and brands of clothing suddenly became a huge thing. It wasn't just about being cool and fitting in—it was about not being picked on and ostracized.

by Anonymousreply 5511/11/2020

When I was growing up in Washington DC in the 70s, I never had a TV in my room, and my parents' cars didn't have air-conditioning - which was a bit uncomfortable during the summer, but we dealt with it.

And our 3BR house had *one* bathroom.

by Anonymousreply 5611/11/2020

OP asked a legitimate question!

We should all be reminded of how the rich become even more richer and how there are increasingly more people who just scrape by.

The last president who built up the middle class was Clinton. Obama tried, but because the system is already so screwed he achieved not much to turn the wheel around on the oligarchy train wreck.

by Anonymousreply 5711/11/2020

r53 Contra Costa Co. My parents were both San Franciscans, but once I was born they moved to San Mateo. We moved to the East Bay about six or seven years later.

by Anonymousreply 5811/11/2020

Pre-Internet and smart devices, kids who had their own phone line (listed as "Children's Telephone" in the phone book) were the height of privileged high tech.

by Anonymousreply 5911/11/2020

R55, I agree completely. It’s like a line got drawn in the sand between the decades. I remember commercials in the 70s touting economy and value and in the 80s it was all spend-spend-spend

by Anonymousreply 6011/11/2020

Housing was a hell of a lot cheaper in those days. Real estate prices started exploding in the 80s and never slowed down.

The four bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house that my parents bought for $35,000 in 1972 in 2006 sold for $750,000. Pretty much the only things they did to that house over the years besides basic maintenance was redo the foundation, add tons of insulation, and put on a new roof. (A developer bought it and it is now a three bedroom, 3 1/2 bath house valued at $1.3 million.)

Adjusted for inflation that’s about $220,000. The thought of being able to buy a four bedroom house in a suburb with an excellent school system for that kind of money nowadays is laughable. But that’s what my parents did inland the low mortgage allowed my mom to stay home with us kids.

by Anonymousreply 6111/11/2020

Food was cheap and we ate our meals at home.

by Anonymousreply 6211/11/2020

There were less things to spend money on back then. Kids only got new stuff at Christmas, a birthday present and new clothes for school. And that was it. TV was free! No cell phones. No computer, no tablet. Plane travel was for rich people. People did not eat constantly, you waited for dinner. Cars and appliances were mechanical and could be repaired at low cost. You didn't just throw things away. I have a drawer with four old cell phones in it. Crazy. And people lived in small spaces. Homes were so much smaller back then. Kids doubled up in bedrooms. You had one bathroom or maybe one and a half. And no air-conditioning. You hung wash on a line. No microwave. A simple refrigerator freezer. It was a much simpler , low cost way of living. And women could stay home and not go off to work.

by Anonymousreply 6311/11/2020

[quote]The last president who built up the middle class was Clinton.

Clinton signed NAFTA, which wiped out a wide swath of middle-class manufacturing jobs.

by Anonymousreply 6411/11/2020

Most suburban women stayed home, but performed a lot of housework at home. More than we do now, a lot was manual labor, larger families. Farm wives worked like dogs. Women didn’t usually have their own car.

My grandmother stayed home during the Great Depression, with my grandfather getting paid $5 a week working heavy labor for the WPA. It still didn’t occur to either one of them that she should get a job. They had three kids, which was a pretty small family in those days. Because of the Depression, he got snipped.

She finally got a job in WWII when he was a civilian POW and she had no money coming in. When he came back, she quit, along with all the other women who quit or got fired so the men could have jobs.

Personally, I think we need to reduce the hours in a workweek so everyone can get work. So either that means one parent stays home, or both work part time, and people can afford early retirement, or there aren’t going to be enough jobs. During the Depression, my grandfather told me nobody worked overtime, so more people could get work. We need to think of solutions to jobs lost to automation like that.

And Social Security and other safety net programs need to be strengthened. We just lost millions of jobs and a lot of them are gone, permanently. Businesses can’t operate without income for two years. And many older people are going to be shut out of the job market.

Either we find a way to make early retirement possible, at least for this generation, or you pass a gauntlet of begging old people on your way to work, knowing that soon you’re going to be one of them.

by Anonymousreply 6511/11/2020

I really don't care, do u?

by Anonymousreply 6611/11/2020

one income families still exist you stupid cunt

by Anonymousreply 6711/11/2020

Coming from Australia the gap between post war and current living standards is less extreme. The median income here was lower than the USA's but is higher now. But we still have the same basic issues. Everything you want but could do without is cheaper now, everything you really need to survive or improve your chances is more expensive.

A lot of it has to do with changes to tax and banking. I'll give a couple of examples.

Up until the mid 1980's the maximum you could borrow for a mortgage was set at re-payments at 30% of the husbands wage. So housing was automatically affordable.

In the 90's we exchanged the old "complicated" sales, tariffs and import duty system for a flat rate goods and services tax. So instead of luxury goods and imports having higher tax rates while having home made essentials tax free the open market was let rip.

The end result is cheap consumables but expensive essentials.

As high income households have raced ahead they have kinda run out of stuff to spend their money on and have been dumping their excess income into "investments". There are really only a handful of things you can purchase that generate a income without effort; real estate, stocks and interest on cash/bonds. Unfortunately, for median/average income households that means they are competing with the 1% when purchasing a home or stocks for their pension fund.

by Anonymousreply 6811/11/2020

[quote]And yet somehow people managed to live their lives quite comfortably in those houses. Thanks to HGTV, people sneer at houses that don't have 3 bathrooms (one has to be supersized master bath), a least one walk-in closet of minimum 100 square feet and the proverbial 30 foot long kitchen with stainless steel restaurant quality appliances (that will only get used to reheat take-out) and granite countertops.

I grew up in the 1980s and this was the norm even way back then. I didn't know anyone who shared a bedroom with siblings or any house that didn't have a master bath for the parents. And we were middle class, not rich.

by Anonymousreply 6911/11/2020

[quote]I remember about 15 years ago when my nieces and nephews were still fairly young they let it be known far and wide theyd rather have cash than gifts we picked out . And it better not be a 20 either. I said all righteee then,fuck you little brats and havent given them a present since.

Would it kill you to give them $100 once or twice a year? Times change, you have to move with them. That's really shitty of you to act all divaish over something so petty.

by Anonymousreply 7011/11/2020

Those nieces and nephews sound divaish in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 7111/11/2020

Contra Costa is insanely expensive now.

by Anonymousreply 7211/11/2020

[quote] Contra Costa is insanely expensive now.

Well, not anymore.

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by Anonymousreply 7311/11/2020

There were fewer people competing for jobs, and not nearly as many immigrants.

by Anonymousreply 7411/11/2020

A lot less stuff. Just stuff in general.

by Anonymousreply 7511/11/2020

[quote]In the 90's we exchanged the old "complicated" sales, tariffs and import duty system for a flat rate goods and services tax. So instead of luxury goods and imports having higher tax rates while having home made essentials tax free the open market was let rip.

Are things like phones and TVs cheaper in Australia than elsewhere?

by Anonymousreply 7611/11/2020

I look at real estate listings and always think "how the fuck can so many people afford this?" It's shocking how much it costs to buy a house or even rent an apartment now.

by Anonymousreply 7711/11/2020

R76 - A lot of my co-workers will go on a shopping spree before visiting family OS. They will buy phones, small electronics, vitamins, tubes of lanolin, honey, infant formula, sheep skins just a whole range of stuff that's hard to get or more expensive in their home countries. Every suburban shopping centre has at least one "care package" shop where you go in and put a box of goodies together and they ship it to family overseas.

See the link below for a typical care package range

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 7811/11/2020

My maternal grandparents sold the cottage in Newport in the early 50s, for 75k. I understood it cost 1.5 million to build and furnish at the turn of the century. The New York townhouse was gone in the 20s. We had the estate on the north shore until WWII when it became an officers club, then a prep school. My siblings and I live in very reduced circumstances. II have some French furniture and bohemian crystal. Even some rich, got poor.

by Anonymousreply 7911/12/2020

Whilst the notions of nice pensions seems good - it does seem excessive that some people earn more on their pension than they ever earned during their working life. Sounds like an excessive drain - no wonder they aren't around anymore.

Unions can go too far as well.

by Anonymousreply 8011/12/2020

R7 post pics, will consider

by Anonymousreply 8111/12/2020

My family was low-income working class, my father was a cabinetmaker and also worked for the post office. My parents married in 1953, I was born in '54, they bought an 800-square foot two-bedroom, one-bath house for $6,000 in 1957 ($63 a month mortgage), and when my sister was born in 1960, my father borrowed $1,500 from the bank and built a 300-square-foot addition with another bedroom and more closet space. Still only one bathroom. Then my brother was born later, and he was shuffled into my sister's room until I went to college.

I still own that house, and my brother lives in it.

I remember seeing my father's paycheck around 1966 or '67, and it was $197 for two weeks. He also had income from his cabinet-making and he often worked a second job, as well. My mother had worked before they married, but not after.

They didn't have any credit cards. We never ate at restaurants. Vacations happened about every four or five years when we would visit various relatives for a few days. The only time I ever remember eating in a restaurant was visiting an uncle 1,000 miles away and we had breakfast once on that trip at a Howard Johnson's. Otherwise we had an ice chest full of food we could eat at highway rest stops.

By 1970, my father had bought three more houses. Two were on our block and built by the same builder who built our house, and my dad rented them out. The third one was a cabin on a small lake about 20 minutes outside of town, and they paid $1,000 for it. One big room and a big screened-in porch. Outdoor toilet, no running water. They bought it when I was in elementary school, and we spent every weekend there and all summer when school was out, though my father would stay at the house in town during the work week, because he couldn't really get ready for work with an Ivory Soap (it floats) bath in the lake, like the rest of us did.

When I was a senior in high school, my mom's friend opened a lunch cafe and Mom started working four hours a day Monday through Friday for $1.65 an hour. Within six months she realized she could earn money, and she divorced him and went to college and became a teacher.

by Anonymousreply 8211/12/2020

R82 here again. Also, during the time I saw my father's paycheck of $197 for two weeks, basically take-home of $5,200 a year, my uncle had a job that paid $10,000 a year. He was single and drove a flashy new car, dated beautiful women and was always going out with his friends for pizza and beer, which I thought must be the coolest guy-thing ever. He had a speed boat and a fishing boat. His house was virtually identical to ours, but in a much nicer neighborhood.

OT, but I saw him naked once from the back when I was about 10, and he had the most beautiful ass (actually the only adult ass) I'd ever seen. I can still see it in my mind. I longed to see his dick, which I know was huge and uncut, but I never did see it except through his pants.

by Anonymousreply 8311/12/2020

r80, are you ignorant, trolling, or both?

Nobody (at least no working stiff) got more in pension than they got wages/ salary while working. BUT they did use to get, say, 50%-80% of their final salary after retirement, which is a pretty great income when you don't have any kids at home any more, or many capital expenditures. They aren't around anymore because greedy companies were permitted to cut their workers loose into self-funding their own retirement (at the workers' own risk for the investment returns), and it became a race to the bottom. Now the money that would have gone to retirees goes into the pockets of shareholders.

And unions can't go anywhere any more -- not that they generally "went too far" even in their heyday.

by Anonymousreply 8411/12/2020

This thread makes me sad. The greedy have won.

by Anonymousreply 8511/12/2020

While I am sure they weren't perfect, I am certain that it is was the unions who gave us many of the workplace protections that we have today. I just don't understand how the average Joe worker allowed unions to become some demonized.

by Anonymousreply 8611/12/2020

"Growing up in the 80’s, people could buy a house while working at a gas station or convenience store. This was still true throughout some of the 90’s."

Exactly. My parents were high school drop outs and factory workers. My mom stopped working during most of my childhood to take care of the three kids. We were blue collar but we always had food on the table, a clean yard, a great christmas, etc. Our house wasn't the nicest in the neighborhood, but my parents had "pride of ownership" - it was immaculate. My dad was handy and did a lot of the work on our two vehicles (tune ups, oil changes, etc.) to save money. We had one TV, one phone, our vacations were camping and/or visiting family. It was fine - great, in fact. My dad's job had great benefits, overtime, etc., etc. It was a union job. Then the late 80s came and all of the union jobs and factories disappeared, going to the non-union south, and then Asia.

By the early to mid 90s my mom had to go back to work and that still did not save them. While I was in college (scholarship), my parents sold their fishing boat, antique truck and most of their possessions to make ends meet. By 1995 they had to sell their house and my dad became a truck driver because there was no longer good-paying, blue collar jobs in the north east. Their story was like many in our area.

Out-sourcing our manufacturing was the worst thing we could have ever done. We sold our souls to China.

by Anonymousreply 8711/12/2020

In the 1950's until the early 1970's our standard of living in the USA was VERY high which enabled most middle class families to live nicely on ONE income.

by Anonymousreply 8811/12/2020

Exactly R88. In R82's example, his father's $192/2 weeks in 1967 is the equivalent of $3000 a month now; I'm assuming post-tax. Which would make his 1967 wage the equivalent of earning just under $20/hour now. And his uncle made the today-equivalent of about $80K/year.

by Anonymousreply 8911/13/2020

OP, I am 65. My parents bought a weeks worth of groceries to feed our family for $25 when I was a kid. WTF can you buy for $25 these days? Not much.

by Anonymousreply 9011/13/2020

R84, there's this thing called pension-padding or -loading, a manipulation engaged in when the pension amount is based on an average of your last few years wages before retirement. If you work a bunch of overtime, you raise your average, and can end up with a pension that is higher than your base wage.

by Anonymousreply 9111/13/2020

Guys, threads like this are useless without action. We’ve been talking about the rape of the middle class for literally decades. What EXACTLY can be done about this?? It feels insurmountable — but I’m not a quitter. We need just ONE big corporation, like Amazon, to allow workers to unionize and to work in total harmony with that process. If American workers could just get a taste of workers right again (livable wages, great benefits, retirement packages, etc.) I believe that would be the catalyst to a revolt.

by Anonymousreply 9211/13/2020

Healthcare was affordable. I think the bill for my birth was under $500 in 1963 and it was that much because my mom was anemic and had to spend a couple extra days in the hospital

by Anonymousreply 9311/13/2020

[quote] … how one income families made ends meet…

I don't understand how current-day web-cammers and self-appointed 'influencers' make ends meet.

by Anonymousreply 9411/13/2020

R94, some YouTubers and Instagrammers make a fucking fortune.

by Anonymousreply 9511/13/2020

R94, some YouTubers and Instagrammers make a fucking fortune.

by Anonymousreply 9611/13/2020

R89, those comparisons of how many dollars in 1967 equals today's dollars are way off base. I promise you, my family did not have the equivalent of $3,000 a month. We were above poverty level, but not by much, and we were definitely not middle class.

by Anonymousreply 9711/13/2020

Wages: My father worked in management at a bank from 1970-1995, when he retired he was making $125k a year. Through a connection at the same bank, he helped me get an entry level job there in 2002. I eventually obtained the EXACT same position as him in 2010 and after 3 raises I currently make $105k a year. Wages are decreasing.

Stuff: Beyond our compulsive nature, look up “Planned Obsolescence”. The corporations intentionally make things to last a shorter period of time nowadays. An appliance from the 1950s with routine maintenance would last 30 years, now you’re lucky to get 7-10 years. Add on the HGTV trend machine and everything is disposable, because we’re told to go for the latest trends constantly.

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by Anonymousreply 9811/13/2020

True r98. People are always renovating and remodeling now, spurred on by all the tv shows and other media and having to keep up with everybody else. Everything is "dated" after a few years and needs to be ripped out and replaced. In the past, remodels/renovations were only done if things were truly ancient or damaged in some way.

by Anonymousreply 9911/13/2020

Everyone is living on credit these days. The aspirational, keeping up with the Jones lifestyle with tons of vacations, renovations and consumer goods can only be funded by huge amounts of debt. It distorts the picture of what people think they have and what they actually have.

by Anonymousreply 10011/13/2020

Housing costs are the main issue. I read somewhere that housing costs have tripled since the 80s but wages have stagnated. The talk about consumer goods is irrelevant as TVs and phones and clothes are much cheaper than they used to be (and poorer quality, yes). Huge chunk of a person's paycheck is going towards rent or mortgage, and a car. A person can live without toys but he has to have a roof over his head and get to work. And work is FAR more demanding than it used to be.

by Anonymousreply 10111/13/2020

Not anymore, r91. Not for at least the past 25 years -- Q.E.D.

by Anonymousreply 10211/14/2020

Land was almost free and houses were small shacks.

by Anonymousreply 10311/14/2020

I agree housing is the major factor. It takes two incomes and 25 years to pay off the average mortgage these days. The average house price in my city is well over a million dollars. A single person like myself will never be a home owner (until I retire, when with any luck I’ll be able to afford a mobile home in the sticks)

by Anonymousreply 10411/14/2020

My husband's mother never worked and his father was a 4th grade teacher. They lived in a nice house across the street from where his dad taught. There were 6 kids in the family and while they were never extravagant, they never felt deprived of anything. When they died (both of them in their 90's), not only did the siblings get the proceeds from the paid off house, they learned that there was almost $700K in savings. I'm still amazed by that.

by Anonymousreply 10511/14/2020

R101 AMEN to ALL of what you said. I'm really annoyed at how many comments are blaming average people instead of greed from above. It's not Tvs, phones, or blowing it on luxury items. My partner and I don't go out, buy used, don't have cable or internet (just on phones), and do everything ourselves (DIY). We still struggle.

The bulk is in housing, vehicles, and healthcare. Healthcare is at least 10% of annual income. In a state like NYS, they take about a third out of the paycheck (so a $1300 gross pay a week is more like $900). Down to $3200 a month. Take out that $1000 a month healthcare, you're left with $2200 for the month. Now with a mortgage/ rent, another $1000 a month and that's being conservative, you're down to $1200, without utilities included. Add a vehicle, which even if used, that has costs like maintenance, gas, insurance, and gov costs. Low est is $400. Now you're left with $800.

Remember, I left out utilities. I didn't add in food or emergencies. Let's say $100 a week for food (which is cheap), you're down to $400 -- don't forget those utilities, or sales tax (%9 in NYS), or clothing for work, or home ins... there's nothing left to save and that's without luxuries like vacations.

Just because a majority of DL lives in upper income areas, that is NOT representative of a majority of Americans -- 100k puts households in the top 30%!! So enough of this blaming it on luxuries when 70% are making under 100k, and if you're 200k, congrats, you're in the top 10% club. Almost 40% are making 50k or less, with only 30% making 50-100k. That's peanuts when to MATCH the buying power of the 1970s, min wage would need to be $25 an hour!

Are people living on credit? Sure. Are there people with poor spending habits? Sure. But to say that's all that's going on is a complete lie. The CEOs now make 300x what the lowest employee does. Companies are making RECORD profits but crucial living expenses continue to be ridiculous in costs. No second tv you can get for $100 used isn't breaking anyone's bank. Notice vehicle ownership is looking dismal, with leasing taking over the market. It's because a vehicle that used to be a small % of income, now costs 30k on up. Leases are the only way to get a vehicle, if you don't want a piece of shit that's 2 decades old (rusted, won't pass inspection, breaks down. )

I don't know how anyone can be on the left and not realize this?! How can we talk about saving the environment when no one can afford new cleaner vehicles? Or eating choices when you need money to get quality, healthy foods? Or recycling when people have to buy cheap products that are disposable within a year? That's without getting into education opportunities or jobs.

There's some people here that need to get out of their bubble because it's glaringly obvious they are looking around them and not seeing a representation of 70% -- that's is, the damn MAJORITY that aren't blowing it all on fancy living. Vacations?? Lol, yeah right! I fucking wish.

by Anonymousreply 10611/14/2020

Just to add to my points above, it's well known that a lot of people are holding on to cell phones longer these days. It's no coincidence that companies are pushing 5G when that means they'll phase out the 3G signals -- which happen to be what a lot of phones use. That's what 4G lite is -- a better 3g signal allowed to be categorized as "4g" if it tacks on lite after it. Most areas never recieved true 4G. There were court cases about it. Companies already admitted they'll be phasing out signals, meaning you get fucked with an older phone. Much like apple admitting the OS updates screw up older phones.

It's ridiculous to blame tech advances and progress as the reason people are struggling. There's always been newer products made that families bought. Telling families to live like the 1950s, with one tv (when they are dirt cheap now a days), and no cell phones, isn't going to solve the problem if wages continue to decline. It's not a $100 phone bill causing these problems, it's the housing costs, healthcare, and other basics killing them.

by Anonymousreply 10711/14/2020

Actually - there's an interesting theory out about the "Lucky Few" generation - the generation immediately before Baby Boom and after the Greatest Generation.

Due to immigration restrictions in the 20's and low birth rates (due to Depression) in the 30's and early 40's, this generation, while scarred by the Depression's effects, was able to demand good wages and benefits simply because

1) there were fewer people for the jobs and no real large immigration/competition 2) post-war industrial boom where American manufacturing had the upper-hand globally while the rest of the world recovered from the war's damage 3) enjoyed cheap housing and home ownership that multiplied in value several fold over the few decades

This entire standard of living was chipped away by Baby Boomers starting in the late 70's and early 80's.

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by Anonymousreply 10811/14/2020

R23, r24, I do that every time I shop. Yesterday at Target, the total was almost $10 higher than my count. Yes, I watched the register display and challenged the price. The cashier seemed genuinely shocked that I did. I pulled up the price of the items on the Target website, and no one argued with me; I got the price adjustment. But my point is that these companies are sneaky and if I weren’t an assiduous counter and suspicious consumer, they’d have gotten an extra $10. I know people who don’t pay attention to the price of anything and whip out their credit card without question.

by Anonymousreply 10911/14/2020

R108 good point. I know DL users will get defensive if I bring up older generations, but damn if that aren't making it more difficult as well. In my area, within 2yrs alone, property taxes went up 62%. Not just my town, but all surrounding towns that used to be affordable. This is in a rustbelt, so not like it's a hotspot.

Why? I noticed elder Gen Xers and baby boomers (40s on up) are building mcmansions like crazy. I'm guessing it's a mix of inheritance $, selling previous homes for 3x what they purchased for, promotions at work, or good retirement. So they want a "dream house" upgrade.

Every inch of our area is being destroyed. Thousands of mcmansions and most are full of people my parents age -- when you should be downgrading! Since these cheap, ugly dollhouses are 300-500k, taxes skyrocketed in only 2 yrs.

In 20 yrs, we'll get screwed by a surplus of these shitty homes, by dragging our property value down, since they belong to a gen that's bigger in population. Those out and about are mid 40s- 90s. They shop, eat out, and drive around in suvs and monster trucks all fucking day. It's rare to see people under 40, yet our area/ city is seeing a 38% increase in people coming here.

This is while living in a rustbelt, winterized, gloomy shithole too! I can't imagine living anywhere with better weather -- it has to be insane.

by Anonymousreply 11011/14/2020

[quote]people did not run out and buy the new latest object on a consistent basis.

[quote]Things were built to last so you didn't need to replace them every few years.

People say this stuff on DL all the time but they miss that the two things are related: we wouldn't HAVE go to buy the latest thing if the one we already had was built to last, which it never is.

Our house was built in 1992 and we had all the original large appliances with it when we bought it in 2006. They all lasted several more years, but we had to replace the water heater in 2010 and central AC in 2012. They both broke down constantly from the time they were new, and finally had to be replaced in 2018. That's ridiculous.

Our TV only lasted four years, my Android phones only last 3-4 before they stop being reliable, my laptop is on its 2nd year and already acting weird, etc.

This is done on purpose to make people want to buy the latest new thing, not because they want to be fashionable, but because they know that if they don't, they'll have to replace it within a year or so anyway.

by Anonymousreply 11111/14/2020

Just an ex, my partners family sold a 3200sq ft home in the same area that used to be 1950s cabin sized homes. However his dad built it in the 90s on a single family 30k a year job because wages went farther, materials used to be cheap, and built on land that was free from family. They had a big family though too, so unlike most building monstrosities, it made sense.

Well even with it being a steal (because it wasn't completely done being remodeled after water damage), you know who bought it? A couple in their 50s. A 5 bedroom house, 3200 sq ft. They sold their 2 homes for 3x what they bought them for, with only paying 150k. Why couldn't a younger family buy it? Banks are now punishing them for their forefathers sins (housing crisis) with stricter standards, barely any young people can buy a house that needs work or isn't perfect.

Anyway -- 4 yrs later, of course they made double on it and are building another ridiculous house from scratch, destroying the little land for wildlife left. Point being, they made out again because they didn't have barriers that younger people would face. They made out with jobs, benefits, selling their homes for ridiculous profit, and so on. But even that wasn't good enough -- they sold to build another, fancier home, while young families can't get shit started.

by Anonymousreply 11211/14/2020

R111 - yes, planned obsolescence is a thing. However, technology is changing so much, many of the electronics we have are obsolete after 5 years - and from a technical perspective, there is only so long things can be planned to be updated without diminishing returns on time and investment.

Also, products were MORE expensive back then. Look at how much TVs and stereos were. Wildly expensive compared to today.

by Anonymousreply 11311/14/2020

Yeah, are people willing to pay 1,500 for a TV that will last 25 years? Or are they going to order the 199 deal from Amazon?

by Anonymousreply 11411/14/2020

R110, we had an economic boom in our town about 15 years ago and a lot of modest homes were replaced by those big McMansion or near-McMansion sized homes, and now no one wants them and there are no affordable, normal homes for regular people.

Many of the rest of the normal, regular-sized houses in town were bought by Boomers who turned them into rentals that they don't keep up because they're cheap bastards, so they rent them out at exorbitant prices to people unable to buy, usually younger families. The renters are resentful and angry because they're obviously being taken advantage of, so they don't take care of the home or property and they go out of their way to be assholes. The house next door has been a rental for three years now, and it's ruining the entire neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 11511/14/2020

[quote]are people willing to pay 1,500 for a TV that will last 25 years?

Is there such a thing anymore?

by Anonymousreply 11611/14/2020

I live in an area with McMansions and they are so fucking ugly. Most families around here only consist of the two parents and one or two kids. Nobody needs that much house. And in the Northeast, it costs a lot of money to heat those things in the winter.

by Anonymousreply 11711/14/2020

R115 what a shame. I'm guessing that's happening across the country. It really makes me wonder what us younger generations are going to do when the older generations are the ones propping up the entire economy in most cases, and even that is more of a mirage.

by Anonymousreply 11811/14/2020

Lots of cops and firemen do what R91 said R84. The work a ton of OT in their last 5 years, and the pension is more than their normal take home.

by Anonymousreply 11911/14/2020

A house that cost $12,000 in 1959, adjusting for inflation, should go for about $110,000 today but they don't.

by Anonymousreply 12011/14/2020

R119 reminds me of the irony that Republicans and other right-wingers hate unions, and virtually all fire-fighters and police are far-right Republicans, but they belong to unions.

by Anonymousreply 12111/14/2020

I recently bought a new house. It was built in 1900. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of new houses, but it is as solid as a fucking rock. I'm not certain that all of those McMansions in the suburbs are going to be standing 120 years from now.

by Anonymousreply 12211/14/2020

I was born in 1980 in LA. My parents were 28 when they had me. We lived in multiple houses that got bigger as my dad advanced in his career. My mom worked up until she found out she was pregnant with me and has not worked since. We went to private school, took what felt like an unbearably long 2 week vacation in the summer and then a few mini trips throughout the year. Honestly, untilI read about other people's lives on here, I thought mom's working in the 80's just wasn't really a thing. I realize that your environment can shape your perception. My mom definitely was the type that had a sit down dinner every night (even though we couldn't stand each other), but at the kitchen table, not in the formal dining room or anything crazy like that. My dad started really making substantial money when he was in his 40's. It wasn't until I was like 12 or 13 that I realized things had changed. My younger sibling is quite a few years younger, so he's only really known a wealthier lifestyle vs. my early years was more solidly middle class. Oddly, instead of scaling back as my parents got older and we went off to college, they scaled up, which was odd. They are divorced and my dad has a 7000 sq ft house for just he and his second wife. My mom lives in a 4000 sq ft house. Also, at least when I grew up in the 80's, people absolutely tried to keep up with each other. I can remember when I was really little, someone got a new Mercedes convertible and my parents were talking about it. Keeping up with the Joneses was a very real concept. It might not have been iPhones, but it was like trips to Europe, cars, how much square footage you had were always part of discussions.

One thing I have learned from the election, COVID, and even here on DL is that your environment can shape your perception of the world. You tend to have friends who have the same experiences as yourself, especially your long time friends. After some humbling very experiences, I feel a lot more aware, but I think how you grow up does color your expectations from life.

by Anonymousreply 12311/14/2020

R109 much to the delight of anyone in line behind you, I'm sure.

by Anonymousreply 12411/14/2020

R123 - did you grow up in the OC? Sounds like a very OC existence.

R121 - yes, they are Republicans because they believe their jobs are so much more dangerous and they deserve the extra perks. Also, they are usually racist white guys from the suburbs who have never interacted with any POCs in their lives - and now only do it when one POC commits a crime, reinforcing their ideas of them.

by Anonymousreply 12511/14/2020

My parents bought their first house in 1978 for $32,000. They sold it in '83 for $36,000. A couple of years ago that same house went on the market for almost $300,000! How many young couples who are just starting out (with no family money to supplement them) can afford that?

And this house is a two-bedroom ranch in a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood, it is not upscale or "fancy" at all. If you want to get into the part of town that's more middle-class (or I guess what we used to consider middle-class) you're looking at starting at about $450,000. And that's the "low end."

It is just insane.

by Anonymousreply 12611/14/2020

R121, I actually believe you hit the mail in the head. Those use to be blue voters.

by Anonymousreply 12711/14/2020

R125, a person of color doesn't have to commit a crime for a police officer to interact with them. Remember stop and frisk? Most places allow it, even if they don't have a formal policy about it. Cops are allowed to shake down people they think are sUsPiCioUs, probable cause be damned.

by Anonymousreply 12811/14/2020

R125, a person of color doesn't have to commit a crime for a police officer to interact with them. Remember stop and frisk? Most places allow it, even if they don't have a formal policy about it. Cops are allowed to shake down people they think are sUsPiCioUs, probable cause be damned.

by Anonymousreply 12911/14/2020

The big thing is that foreigners and women were not allowed to take jobs from real americans. Real americans got a salary they deserved. Now the jobs go to immigrants or affirmative action. No china man would ever be allowed to take a job from us. And then Japan and europe rebuilt their manufacturing and started competing with america.

by Anonymousreply 13011/14/2020

Wealth has been increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few since the Reagan years and the trickle down bullshit combined with the decline of unions and middle class wages are stagnant, and skyrocketing healthcare, real estate, college tuition costs. It’s a whole system of f yous to the middle class and working class and capitalism has gone awry. In fact, the vast majority (90%) of baby boomers could expect to live a better life than their parents. With millennials, that number dropped down to 50%. Social mobility is declining because of all of those factors.

I live in a far outlying suburb of SF and the only people who can afford to move into houses on my block are 40s-60s in age with either teenagers or adult children because the houses go for the 700ks and above. Isn’t that sad? No one who doesn’t work for Google or other tech can afford to live in a very average neighborhood with 3-4 bedroom houses built in the 1970s. And I’m an hour from the city!

Childcare, by the way, is easily 20-26k per child per year in my area and has a years long waiting list. It’s insane.

by Anonymousreply 13111/14/2020

I’ll add that because people are paid such shitty wages to do things like customer service rather than a living wage with benefits, there’s no external motivation to actually help people or even be nice to them. I’m actually shocked when customer service reps actually do what you asked them to do and fix your problem. So many say they will and hang up and don’t do a damn thing—for me, that has actually become the norm that I’m used to when I call companies. It’s sad that we’ve gotten to this place where workers are so burned out and underpaid that they really don’t give a shit. This happens in skilled care facilities with CNAs, etc. It’s everywhere. This is the sad result of being overworked and underpaid and treated like shit by corporate America.

by Anonymousreply 13211/14/2020

Back in the day was there always this "at will" firing where you could literally come into work, locked out of your accounts, and fired or was there a severance period like I understand there to be in the UK? I think the UK has to give you mandatory 3 months notice if you are getting fired, not just laid off.

by Anonymousreply 13311/14/2020

R108- What fucked up the USA were the HUGE in increase in oil prices in 1973 and then in 1979 to 1981. We NEVER recovered from those two oil price shocks. Our prosperity was based on CHEAP, ABUNDANT oil- which is NEVER coming back.

by Anonymousreply 13411/14/2020

R132, the customer service agents I've gotten in the last several months, both outsourced to other countries and people who presumably are here in the US, outright lie about what they're going to do to solve the problem. Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, Target, Kroger, all have lied to me just to get me off the phone so they don't have to deal with the problem.

And while I get that they're not paid well, I also don't get going to the trouble of lying. Some have left voice mails or emails with lies. Why not spend that time actually solving the problem?

So it becomes a vicious cycle: no one is going to pay customer service people well when they actively anger customers, but the employees are not doing the work because they don't get paid enough.

That's the major problem with many US jobs right now, I think. Everyone is expected to do too much but at the same time they get away with not doing their jobs at all, and companies use it in "justifying" the low pay.

Because this has infiltrated every job market, it's causing huge problems in society. People aren't getting proper health care because of it, as you already mentioned. The company my bf works at loses 1-2 employees a year in fatal accidents caused by poor training and lack of care. Idiots are left in charge to do things like not require masking or start up cruise lines again during a pandemic, just because they don't give enough of a shit to do what needs to be done to protect the public and workers.

Our country ran so much better when there was a modicum of social safety net and a person could get decent wages for their job. We're collapsing right now because that was all taken away, and most people in government are too stupid to care or even understand.

by Anonymousreply 13511/14/2020

I do find it fascinating that people could support an entire family by being a floor walker at a department store or a waiter at a high end restaurant back then.

by Anonymousreply 13611/14/2020

R97 aka R82, if your father was able to buy multiple houses and a cabin, he was solidly middle class, even daresay bourgeois. Your mother likely dumped him because she got tired of being a landlord's wife; tired of him spending all the money on his pursuits to the exclusion of hers and the family's; and she wanted a standard of living for herself and her children that reflected his income, rather than him tossing her a scrap or two now and then so he could save up to buy another shack next to Leech Lake. She was contemplating divorce every time you ate soggy cheese sandwiches in a car parked at the rest stop.

Other evidence: The mortgage for the home you lived in was only 16% of your father's take-home pay! That would be the equivalent of the current median wage earner in the US paying only $425 for their house. (Median is $40K, take home is less 20% in taxes).

by Anonymousreply 13711/14/2020

I think the older generations who are buying up houses too large for them and outbidding younger families and becoming slum lords while chastising them for laziness and extravagence are going to pay the price when they get ill or close to death. Underpaid, bitter young people make scary caretakers.

by Anonymousreply 13811/14/2020

700K in savings by a teacher with a non-working wife and who raised 6 kids? There is an untold backstory to that, buddy R105.

by Anonymousreply 13911/14/2020

R134 oil tanks in price regularly.

by Anonymousreply 14011/14/2020

My goodness r82, your dad had a government job with decent pay and benefits AND owned multiple houses that he rented out. You weren't "low-income working class," that's just delusional.

by Anonymousreply 14111/14/2020

700k in savings from a side business of cocaine is more like it.

by Anonymousreply 14211/14/2020

Or his dad was pimping out his mom's pussy on the side.

by Anonymousreply 14311/14/2020

Everything these days--retail, culture, entertainment, politics--is a race to the bottom. (And I'm not talking about that hot guy presenting hole at your gangbang.)

by Anonymousreply 14411/14/2020

[quote] Those use to be blue voters.

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 14511/14/2020

[quote] I think the UK has to give you mandatory 3 months notice if you are getting fired,

How’s that now?

What if you walk in the door and take a shit on the boss’s desk? Or, to quote Violet Newstead, “I killed the boss! You don’t think they’re going to fire me for a thing like that?!”

A person can do a TON of damage to a company if they know they’re getting fired in 3 months.

by Anonymousreply 14611/14/2020

I’m sure he meant laid off R146, and the US has similar requirements.

by Anonymousreply 14711/14/2020

You would think so, but he specifically said “not laid off.”

by Anonymousreply 14811/14/2020

R137, keep your day job. You'll never make it as a psychic.

My father bought multiple houses dirt cheap because he could take the down-payment for them out of the equity in the house we lived in and let the renters pay the mortgage. He was a carpenter and could do all the repairs, because he had plumber and electrician friends who would come help him and show him how to do it. There was never any income from those houses beyond mortgage and maintenance until after my parents divorced. I know because I helped with all the repair, maintenance and prep for renting them. And the cabin at the lake -- which was not leech-infested, it was fed by a combination of springs and water flowing in from rocky creeks, so there were lots of places you could stand neck deep and see the bottom -- he sold to pay off the loan for it the week my mom filed for divorce.

And you really have no idea about my mom. She was happiest at the cabin at the lake. She divorced him because he started hitting her, and after one dislocated jaw and two black eyes, she and I and my siblings left.

Besides $3,000 a month take-home, probably $50K-something total, in today's dollars, would put a family of five (as we were) at the low-end of middle-class, but they could have a vastly more upscale life than we could have had. The rent houses were not a factor in our family income. They only paid out to my father later, when he did indeed, move into the middle class when he quit his job and started his own business.

by Anonymousreply 14911/14/2020

[quote] [R23], [R24], I do that every time I shop. Yesterday at Target, the total was almost $10 higher than my count. Yes, I watched the register display and challenged the price. The cashier seemed genuinely shocked that I did. I pulled up the price of the items on the Target website, and no one argued with me; I got the price adjustment. But my point is that these companies are sneaky and if I weren’t an assiduous counter and suspicious consumer, they’d have gotten an extra $10. I know people who don’t pay attention to the price of anything and whip out their credit card without question.

R109, try using self check-out. That way, you know you are getting the price advertised on There will be a Target worker "manning" the self check-out. You just show the worker your phone (with the lower price) on it and they will adjust it. Yes, I realize you should just automatically get the lower, advertised price, but that's how Target currently operates.

by Anonymousreply 15011/14/2020

At my old job, my coworkers and I all made approximately the same amount of money. Of course, you'll never know who has a trust fund. But it seemed like I was one of the few frugal people. My coworkers teased me about my car, etc., because it was old (but paid-for and still running without problems). I'll be very interested to see how this all plays out when we are older.

by Anonymousreply 15111/14/2020

The moms were prostitutes.

(Lots of lonely men willing to pay for quality poontang in the suburbs after WW II...)

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 15211/14/2020

R152 - don't let the title of the show fool you - they left it to the Beaver alright, but it wasn't named Jerry Mathers, if you know what I mean.

by Anonymousreply 15311/14/2020

I went to a shrink to try to figure out how my dad dying when I was 5, which led to major Daddy issues, was preventing me from living my life as a gay man as fully as I could.

He asked for a little background; I said my mom because a school teacher and I found out later, my aunt's (rich) older boyfriend paid off the house so we wouldn't have to move. She paid him back each month, but he took the money and put it into savings accounts for my brothers and me for college. Great guy, but old. Like 35 years older than my dad so he wasn't able to step in other than financially.

Anyway, the shrink asks me if we were poor. I thought for a minute and said, well, no. I got new clothes and shoes and shit for school each year. We went on vacations. We weren't rich, but I never recalled money being a huge issue.

He goes...yeah, but ...weren't you poor? I finally said, were YOU poor?

We had about three sessions and I moved on.

Still have the daddy issues.

by Anonymousreply 15411/14/2020

because = became

by Anonymousreply 15511/14/2020

R109- That used to happen to me ALL the time at Whole Foods. Then I started using their DISHONESTY against them. I would ALWAYS be overcharged for macademia nuts - for intstance- I would say nothing when they overcharged me , then after I payed for my food I would go to customer service and tell them I was overcharged and they would give me the item for free. I did this MANY times.

by Anonymousreply 15611/15/2020

r156 is the winner of The White People's Problems Award.

by Anonymousreply 15711/15/2020

I was waitlisted at SoHo House. I think that should win, R157!

by Anonymousreply 15811/15/2020

Oh dear r158! Are you not friends with Ronald?

by Anonymousreply 15911/15/2020

[quote] then after I payed

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 16011/15/2020



by Anonymousreply 16111/15/2020

I grew up in a home where dad worked and mom was a SAHM. My dad's salary put us below the poverty line. That said, we just lived a really simple, minimalistic life but had a great childhood. I didn't even know we were poor. My parents bought land way out in the country and my dad built the house himself. He then had a long commute but the cost of living was so much cheaper. During the summer we had a massive garden and eat from that for months. Our only vacations were camping. We had no gadgets, no extras. Our appliances all lasted 30 years. My parents had an old beat up station wagon that also lasted almost forever (the back door was tied on!). My mo made all our food and most of our clothes. We didn't go out to eat and bought minimally from grocery stores. We got books from the library, lots of hand me downs from friends, and we had a few toys but mostly we played outside in the trees and the creek and the fields. We did have bikes. The only extracurricular we did was swimming lessons because we often camped near lakes and it was a safety thing. When we became teens, my mom started working as they could no longer make ends meet. We learned to be independent and resourceful young. We all worked from age 11 or 12 on, first babysitting, then other jobs. We just lived a completely different way and at a different pace then the way life seems to be now. Maybe there are still rural families living the way we did, I don't know.

by Anonymousreply 16211/15/2020

R162, that sounds very idyllic is so many ways. Aren’t you glad now that you grew up back then?

by Anonymousreply 16311/15/2020

I feel like if you "didn't even realize we were poor", you probably weren't that poor to begin with.

by Anonymousreply 16411/15/2020

You people who were poor but didn't really notice because your family made you feel secure

you weren't that poor if 1) your teeth were minimally maintained 2) you could see a doctor if really sick 3) you had heat in the winter, didn't freeze to death 4) you had a home or apartment that you lived in for several years if not longer, you didn't live in a tent, a shanty, or a car, or a homeless shelter 5) you had enough food to grow up normally 6) likewise, you did not starve 7) you were able to go to school from 6-18 etc etc newsflash - you were not POOR POOR

by Anonymousreply 16511/15/2020

I didn’t grow up on the US, didn’t have a SAHM so I cannot comment to that but similar issues the U.K., My grandparents got a council house in 1965. Both worked and my grandfather swept chimneys and my grandmother took in ironing to try to get their family out of the council estate. Their eldest son got a trade and built a bungalow out in the country. The dream. Well, his daughter and her husband are trying to buy a house. They looked at a house in the very estate my grandparents worked so hard to get out of. And the price? £480,000!!! Out of their price range. They are still living with my uncle and last I heard had put a bid in on another ex-council house in the 350K range.

I went to college in Dublin, Ireland and you saw something some others have remarked on. Very fancy neighbourhoods that had properties starting near a million still had an older generation living there who had bought in as schoolteachers! You had Google people, doctors and then 60+ school teachers. I would almost cry to think you could have lived in a lovely area, near the beach, near the city on one teachers salary. I was sharing a house with 4 others and one was a teacher. She was earning 24K, the civil servant was earning 19K and the two nurses also around 25K. Completely impossible to buy anything by themselves and even a nurse and teacher marrying would have to move way out of the city to buy.

Since moving to the US I see salaries that just make my eyes water but I do still look at property pages and think “how are there so many of them?”! I get that statistically people who earn above 250K are a tiny percentage but when you see house prices it doesn’t seem that way! I’ll never own a home unless I marry. I’ve made peace with that.

One other thing where I live people are working and middle class and there isn’t any competitive decorating. I would think you’d have to be a social animal who has dinner parties to show off the house to do that? I’ve lived in a few cities now, always in an affordable part of town and people keep to themselves. I wouldn’t have enough people to come over ooh and aahh to make home decor worth the money!

by Anonymousreply 16611/15/2020

I make what I thought it would take to be rich, or at least upper class. I'm not. But I live in a big city.

I tried living in a southern city for almost 3 years. I finally felt comfortable and could have easily bought the house of my dreams. But when I voted for the election ((2012) in a gun range (ROTC) in a high school - I knew I had to get the fuck out of there.

I made the right choice. Money isn't everything. But the way the economy has become is unsustainable. No wonder so many people are in debit up to their eyeballs. I used to live in LA - I have no idea how people make ends meet there now. It is literally more expensive to live in LA than NYC now if you want to buy a free-standing home. Forget it. You can buy a great 1-2 bedroom for under a million now in Manhattan (thanks Covid!). 1m in LA still gets you a starter shack with an illegal addition, street parking and in a neighborhood not so recently occupied by gang bangers. I wish I was exaggerating. I have friends dying to move to echo park. A friend of mine moved in at the early stages of gentrification and was killed in a home invasion robbery. Her husband found her with two gunshots to the head.

by Anonymousreply 16711/15/2020

The biggest reason a kid from a lower income family didn't feel poor back then was because wealth was not thrown in your face all the time. At school we all dressed in the same Sears clothing. We all had the same bikes. Basically the same dumb toys. Some kids lived in new ranchers and split levels but they weren't overblown McMansions. There was a sameness to things

by Anonymousreply 16811/15/2020

R168 Could it be that the income disparity was not so great. Yes a lawyer made more than a teacher but not to the same extent as today? I grew up in the U.K. so of course had a rigid class system where you knew where you were or weren’t but I do recall a sameness to us children too and the middle and upper middle classes didn’t helicopter so the doctor’s kid would cycle home like the rest of us rather than be whisked off in a Range Rover as he would be today.

by Anonymousreply 16911/15/2020

R167, I lived within walking distance of Echo Park. It wasn't as bad as other parts of LA, like Boyle Heights, but yeah, color me shocked how expensive EP has become. Do you know Lincoln Heights? Another part of LA that was once slightly scary to be in. Now I see sheds in LP going for 500k. I had a friend whose mom owned a triplex in LP. They were 3 separate buildings on a large lot I went to school with this friend in the late 80's. Her mom died in the early 2000's and my friend inherited the place. We had lost touch around that time. That lot and those 3 buildings must be least 750K now.

Same story for Highland Park...I don't understand how they have gentrified with the Avenues gangs there.

by Anonymousreply 17011/15/2020

We were not poor at all, but we were less well off than most of the other people in our area. It was not uncommon for kids to have their own cars, TV sets, etc. So it's all a comparative thing depending on your environment.

by Anonymousreply 17111/15/2020

I checked Redfin...guess of 750K is low, probably more like 1M.

by Anonymousreply 17211/15/2020

R163. I am very glad I grew up that way. We really had no stresses as kids. Everyone around us was rural too and no one had much money. There was no peer pressure that seems to come with more urban settings.

I grew up in Canada so we had healthcare. A man at our church was a dentist and did all our dental work for free. All these decades later I am still so grateful for him. We had a real sense of community, both with other families on our road and through the church. Everyone helped each other out. One neighbour had eggs, another made jam and lots of pickles, we had a massive garden in the summer that fed us for much of the year. My dad would buy half a cow at a discount from another farmer. No one needed childcare because you just went to someone else's house or a cousin would babysit.

We weren't dirt poor in that we didn't go hungry and we always had a roof over our back and clothes on our bodies. But we lived a very cheap, simple life on a very low budget that my parents made work. We got store bought cookies once a year! And we were allowed a half glass of orange juice per morning as one can had a to last a week. We were low income but not poorest of the poor. We didn't suffer the stresses of poverty. My father did a degree over about 6 years when we were kids and eventually started making a little more when I was a tween and as a teen my mom went back to work as well.

I don't know if the life we had is possible anymore. Maybe it is to some extent way out in farmland. Technology would have changed things to some degree. We didn't even have a TV. Just an old record player and a small radio.

by Anonymousreply 17311/15/2020

Face it, you are solid middle class, R173. The church dentist who took care of everyones teeth. Where are you from and what era was this?

by Anonymousreply 17411/15/2020

After world war two, manufacturing was destroyed globally. Only factories in the US were up and running so there was plenty of work and buyers of US goods globally. Workers were paid well and there was plenty of work for everyone. Additionally, all the consumer goods were made here so it was cheaper. Once Europe and asia got into manufacturing - we sold less abroad - manufacturing went down. Now it is almost always cheaper to make things in China or Korea or anywhere but the US.

by Anonymousreply 17511/15/2020

R173 I’m fascinated by the church dentist too! What religion was this? Older people have told me of a time when professionals would ply their trade for free, when doctors would take casseroles as payment and lawyers and doctors could not advertise in the US.

by Anonymousreply 17611/15/2020

We were poverty level poor when I was really young. Police were scary because our car had expired tags. We didn’t have health insurance for the majority of childhood and no dental care (our teeth are still more yellow than other people even with better dental care as adults). Lived in apts and duplexes. Wore hand me downs and if we were very lucky, got to eat out. Got food from our church a lot of the time because we couldn’t always afford groceries. Sometimes lost electricity due to unpaid bills. Cars breaking down left and right and relying on our church to help out. I graduated from high school just a shade over poverty line and things a tiny bit better but we still weren’t middle class. Even as a kid, though, I looked at other kids and immediately saw a difference—they could afford Nike’s and the popular brands of clothing while I usually wore thrift store stuff, hand me downs, and Payless shoes. I remember being so embarrassed when I wore Payless shoes one day that i refused to wear them ever again even though I’d liked the style because I knew other kids would be able to tell they were a Payless brand. It was mortifying. I don’t know very many folks who grew up as poor as I did and then got a doctorate, but I went into heavy debt to do it, unlike my more well-off peers. Now with students loans I may never catch up to them, unfortunately.

by Anonymousreply 17711/15/2020

R175 - yes, but as I posted earlier, there was also a demographic at play. With the closing of immigration in the early 1920s - that reduced a lot of potential competition for jobs. At the same time, the generation born between 1928 and 1946 was a baby bust - there weren't that many kids born so as adults, with the advantage American manufacturing had over the world - they HAD to pay good wages and benefits to keep the workers. It was a very limited pool of resources.

That's why some historians are calling that generation 'The Lucky Few' - cheap housing, inexpensive college, good paying jobs and benefits and limited competition.

by Anonymousreply 17811/15/2020

This thread makes me sad, but also more accepting and grateful for how I grew up.

by Anonymousreply 17911/15/2020

I am solidly middle class now but wasn't as a child. and this thread was about one income families not the poverty Olympics!

He wasn't the church dentist, he just was a dentist that went to our church and knew my parents couldn't afford dental work. I have no idea how many others he also provided free services to. He was a very quiet man and certainly wasn't advertising free dental work! I didn't even know he had done ours for free until I was a bit older.

It was a Christian church that bordered on a cult! Very close knit group of people that helped each other out a lot though despite their warped theology!

by Anonymousreply 18011/15/2020

R174. I am curious as to your definition of what makes one solidly middle class? Our family income put us below the poverty line. How do below the poverty line and middle class go together for you?

by Anonymousreply 18111/15/2020

R161; I do tangents; march to the beat of my own drummer.

by Anonymousreply 18211/15/2020

Agree with R180 and this thread not being about poverty Olympics. Of course all things are relative, and being homeless and starving puts you at the nadir. Nevertheless, the many chilhoods described above still qualify as poor.

I also didn't know my family was poor until I was in my late teens and became aware that a high school across the river was in a rich neighborhood, or that one of the kids from my otherwise working-class high school was considered to be rich because of their big new house. So poor to me meant: meals of spaghetti and white bread, red bean stew and white bread, tuna casserole with one can of tuna for 4 people; vacation was one week spent at grandparents' house in a small rural town; no brand name clothes and lots of hand-me-downs and home-sewn garments; spending most of my childhood in a cheap apartment with a view of a parking lot and a highway.

by Anonymousreply 18311/15/2020

Key themes on this thread seem accurate:

* Cost of living, especially real estate, was much lower

* There was no desire to emulate the upper middle class in terms of luxury vacations and luxury goods

* College was much cheaper

• Raising kids was much much cheaper--no sports leagues other than Little League, no tutors, hand me down clothes were fine, no electronics

• Working class salaries (factory jobs, teaching, etc.) were much higher in relation to professional jobs like finance and law

by Anonymousreply 18411/15/2020

Now we compete against asians who work themselves to death. We compete against chinese slave labour. We screwed the white working class. We should be allowed slaves to compete. Most blacks remember slavery as the good times. Maybe if we forced blacks back to Africa they would stop rioting and work for free.

by Anonymousreply 18511/16/2020

R179 has hit it, I think.

To take myself as an example; I grew up lower-middle-class and comfortably so, but as I went to a grammar school on a scholarship I quickly learned to feel ‘poor’ by comparison with the majority of my fellow students. I was one of a hundred students taking the bus or biking in and wearing second-hand uniform, in a school of thousands who got picked up in a new-reg SUV everyday and who came to the classroom with their homework in Hermes. I would go to Latin or Music study with girls who had been learning these subjects since they were five years old. I learned that students had extra-curricular private tutoring at home, had permission to leave in term-time on ski-trips/cricket tours/‘cultural tours’, could afford the newest phones and computers (it was the early ‘00s), and frequently went out on wild expensive tours of the city clubs on weekends using Daddy’s credit card and driver. This was an alien world to me, and so of course I made firm friends with the other lesser girls at the school to feel less inadequate and excluded. It was a PRETTY IN PINK or a GOSSIP GIRL sort of scenario.

Shortly after graduating several years on, it occurred to me that pupils like me were permitted to attend that school as a way to drive up test scores and make the place look good so it could keep its elite cachet at the top of the League tables, but beyond that me and my shabby misfit LMC friends were not expected to contribute to the landscape of the school in any significant or obvious way. Enrolment was all about winning parents with cash to inject and children to further indoctrinate into the ‘smart set’, ultimately.

It also struck me that, had I attended my local comprehensive (public) school instead, I would have been seen as the posh middle-class girl, because I could afford to eat a decent lunch every day and wear wore clean clothes to school, because I had travelled overseas once before in my life, and because my parents had books in our house and used a government subsidy to pay for me to learn a musical instrument. I considered an anomalous success in my immediate family as I went to a very good grammar school and got a basic degree, but I fall short by the standards of my extended family who are all emigrants with Masters who have three properties apiece. It’s all entirely relative.

by Anonymousreply 18611/16/2020

r185 we don't compete with China - we can't. People need to understand how it works. Even if it is made in the USA parts are probably from China.

by Anonymousreply 18711/17/2020

We were a one-income family. My dad made decent money, but my parents also did a good job economizing. We almost never ate out.... twice a year tops.

by Anonymousreply 18811/17/2020

“Working class salaries (factory jobs, teaching, etc.) were much higher in relation to professional jobs like finance and law”

Is teaching considered a working class job? I mean, most schools require a Masters these days to teach. Back in the day teachers could do VERY well. My uncle was a tier one NYC teacher. Between his pension and state subsidized investment account, he retired a de facto millionaire. Owned a house in Truro, Mass and an apartment on the lower east side.

You certainly can’t make out like that anymore.

by Anonymousreply 18911/17/2020

R189 No I would not call it that, it's still an aspirational job for working class women but it is now a pink collar job and those who do it in Western countries tend to be young women sharing accommodation and women with a husband bringing in a second income. Older teachers did well but those under 40 (and I know young teachers in France, Ireland, UK, Midwest USA and Italy) have trouble supporting themselves let alone a family on the salary. At one time though school teachers were part of the landlord class, often they were the most educated person in the small English towns like the one I grew up in. They bought up ex council houses and became landlords and drove a Mercedes and joined the golf club and lived very, very well. Those days are over.

by Anonymousreply 19011/17/2020

[quote]The big thing is that foreigners and women were not allowed to take jobs from real americans.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean (written by the same mental case who wrote R185?). In the late 19th/early 20th century the American economy was driven to its heights largely by immigrant labor, including many women. Most of those immigrants stayed and became Americans. The melting pot or what you will.

by Anonymousreply 19111/17/2020

The points made on this thread are all valid: income inequality driven by trickle-down policies and the like; the destruction of unions; planned obsolescence. I think there's something in digital technology that enforces spending. Generations went by with people able to listen to the same records their grandparents and parents listened to—just like we can read their books and look at their photo albums. Then CDs were the norm for about 20 or so years.

I bought a phone for maybe $25 in the late 80s and used it for around 20 years until I dropped my landline account. During the 90s I was able to totally game the long-distance companies, who were competing for customers; I'd switch carriers until AT&T actually started sending me checks to come back, and I'd cash the check, come back, and then switch again. Now I'm basically hemmed in by expensive contracts—several times more a month than my old service—for a cell phone I'm supposed to use for everything, but which in practice isn't that efficient (I like it for messages, photos, and maps).

I do have friends who every few years switch out their furniture and electronics for the newest thing. I still use the very 3-dimensional tv I got in 2002. I use it just for DVDs, which are also archaic by now. I try to keep as analog as possible, just because of the time and money it takes to keep up with changes in computer technology, some of them driven by the market, but some by the nature of the field. Everything has some digital component, so it's common to get a washing machine (my parents used their for almost 50 years) or some other appliance that conks out right away and can't be fixed because of some glitch. Car dashboards, infuriatingly, use touch screens, which are not driver-friendly (to say the least). Too many things we buy are interrelated, so that by getting one new device we have to upgrade others in a chain reaction, and it runs into 100s if not 1000s of dollars. If it's for work I'll put up with it and let work sort out the details; for my personal life I'd rather not bother.

by Anonymousreply 19211/17/2020

In addition to everything I noted at R189, the biggest difference is that the gap between the top 15% and everyone else has gotten much, much wider and that top 15% have walled themselves off in certain suburbs and city neighborhoods and they are raising kids who have very little in common with their lower 85% peers-- it very much is like Victorian England where you had "gentlefolk" and everyone else.

Among that top 15%. having a wife who does not work (but who has an advanced degree from a top school and gave up a BigLaw or similar type job) is very aspirational. Ditto doing that and having more than three kids.

by Anonymousreply 19311/17/2020

At one time (from post WWII until Reagan) there was a middle class in the U.S., and Dad's salary was enough to keep the family going.

by Anonymousreply 19411/17/2020

R192 Your post reminds me that I test drove a brand new car (no intention of buying, was tagging along with a friend) and the dashboard was like the Concorde. Touch screen, pop up screens, controls everywhere and then this thing on the windscreen, right in your sightline, that told you your speed, gave directions, showed your messages. You could only knock it off by going through a touch screen menu in the centre console. It was sensory overload and we both had to ignore all the tech and really focus on our surroundings to avoid crashing. Not to mention we both said there's waaay too much going on here to be able to maintain this vehicle out of warranty. My family had a Toyota Corolla that we bought at 8 years old and kept it for 15 years. Didn't owe us a penny, reliable, cheap to maintain. There's just no way the newer cars will have that kind of life in them because there's no many things to go wrong.

R193 Yes I have also noticed that those top 20% of people are actually a lot more regressive in terms of gender roles and a lot more naïve and childlike than my working class circle. I have little contact with those types but when I do I find them strange. Sort of like they are dropping in from a different planet which I guess they are.

by Anonymousreply 19511/17/2020

Agreed R195

Think about it-- the "gentlefolk" in 2020 America graduate with zero student debt, move into apartments their parents help pay for in trendy urban neighborhoods populated by other 20somethings just like them, work at jobs they secured because someone mom or dad knew was able to give them an unpaid internship and mom and dad paid for them to be able to take said internship, which then blossomed into a six figure job... while their working class peers still live in the basement, struggle with massive student debt and struggle to make ends meet on "gig economy" jobs.

by Anonymousreply 19611/17/2020

Yeah, these pod people are very naive about their privileges but also are very quick to deny "free shit" to us poor folks.

by Anonymousreply 19711/17/2020

R196, the digital tech in cars is my pet peeve. To change stations or music you used to use knobs or buttons that you could operate by feel; now you pull down two or three menus or swipe to new screens. You can't do this while you're driving. Do they think we all have chauffeurs, or drive everywhere with a spouse or child? No more CD players, of course, so you have to spend time before your ride making playlists if you want a similar experience. Don't get me started about the problems connecting with my phone or cutting out all of a sudden.

The speed, temperature, etc. used to be right in front of you on the dash but on my car now there's a lot of duplicate information, and to get more you have to switch screens. I'm seriously entertaining the idea that the designers have never driven a car and don't realize what the automotive experience is all about, as opposed to a showroom.

by Anonymousreply 19811/17/2020

R198 hasn't ever really liked horseless carriages

by Anonymousreply 19911/17/2020

I haven't owned a car for 16 years. I occasionally rent cars and the last couple of years, I have found them difficult to use. The last one I couldn't even figure out how to start it because it was keyless.

by Anonymousreply 20011/17/2020

R200 I rent cars once or twice per year and they are getting more and more complicated dash panels to the point where it’s distracting from driving while you’re trying to figure it out. Setting up your iPhone to sync music is a great feature but a pain in the ass to navigate. Back in the day I’d plug an auxiliary cord in and go but most stereo systems don’t have that anymore. You almost need a car manual just for the electronics/menu/touchscreen settings these days.

by Anonymousreply 20111/17/2020

Was everyone just mostly lower middle class in the 70's? Was the upper middle class less common than today?

by Anonymousreply 20211/17/2020

R202 I believe so but that's just personal observation and I don't have any stats to back that up. But it's my observation that the wages for working and middle class people stagnated. At the same time the top 15% got richer so the salary gap really widened and the top 1% just sped away from everyone at a rate that nobody could ever had imagined. So while everyone wasn't lower middle class in the 70s, the salary gap between a blue collar worker and a doctor was not what it is today, the gap between a CEO and his middle managers was not what it is today.

by Anonymousreply 20311/18/2020

The workforce doubled with entry if women. Salaries cut in half. Then they started giving jobs to italians blacks,asians etc. It used to be that only white males got the good jobs. It was a white county. Now it's a country big brown and yellow terrorists. Thanks to your local Jew.

by Anonymousreply 20411/18/2020

English is hard, r204.

by Anonymousreply 20511/18/2020

R204's posting history is hilarious. Either mentally ill or someone with a lot of free time winding us up.

by Anonymousreply 20611/18/2020

R204 that is racist. I kill you

by Anonymousreply 20711/18/2020

Sorry to hear that, r205. Maybe take some remedial english.

by Anonymousreply 20811/18/2020

Bless your lil heart, r208.

by Anonymousreply 20911/18/2020

Americans were only competing against themselves, no immigrants. No H1-B workers etc.

by Anonymousreply 21011/18/2020

in 2020, car electronic dashboards are meant to be controlled by your voice not your fingers on a million little screens and buttons.

by Anonymousreply 21111/18/2020

I had R204 blocked. Now I know why.

by Anonymousreply 21211/18/2020

I had too! Checked why and ....yeah!

by Anonymousreply 21311/18/2020

I love it when posters announce who they've blocked. Like anyone gives a fuck. If you need to keep blocking people, go to another forum.

by Anonymousreply 21411/18/2020

Reaganomics put the nail in that coffin.

by Anonymousreply 21511/18/2020

Inflation has outpaced wages and people have rising expectations for their standard of living, as many have pointed out. It's also the case that people generally don't have survival skills anymore. My mom grew up extremely poor in the 40s and 50s and they knew how to survive: fish and grow food, make their own clothes, cut their own hair, fix what needed fixing, walk or bike to where you need to go, even build your own home (though they didn't do that-they crowded 7 people into a 700 square foot shotgun shack). Medicine was much more basic because such expensive machines and treatments hadn't been invented yet. As my great uncle said, if you know how to think poor, you will survive.

by Anonymousreply 21611/18/2020

r216 From my perspective, knowing a lot of poor rural whites in South East Tennessee who are my extended family (I live in suburban DC), those 'skills' were forgotten extremely quickly, within two generations or less. Whereas the poor rural of the early 20th century retained quite a bit of 'survival knowledge' from their ancestors, their offspring and grandchildren quickly fell into technology shortcuts and an economy of cheap disposable consumer goods. Now they can barely cook from scratch because they are living in massive food deserts where the only places to buy food are from gas stations or Dollar General stores, or else they need to drive forty miles to a Wal-Mart.

They also have terrible access to wifi and broadband. For decades the only internet they could get was dial-up AOL. There have been many concerted efforts to install it in the huge swaths of land, and Chattanooga was actually able to create a cheap municipal system, but corrupt politicians like TN Senator Marsha Blackburn fight it tooth and nail. So it ends up that the only viable employment in places like that is in prisons.

by Anonymousreply 21711/21/2020
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