3 Enormous Issues With the United States Economy

The United States economy is in trouble. Employment is the backbone of any economy, and there are three reasons jobs today just ain't as sweet as they used to be. Here's why Americans are getting paid less, getting fired, or are just giving up altogether.

1. Uneducated only, please
The United States economy was built on the backs of John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Rosie the Riveter, and countless others who transformed our nation into a manufacturing machine.

In 1960, General Motors Company (NYSE: GM  ) was the largest employer, putting 595,200 Americans to work. That's 0.8% of the entire work force, and a whopping 3.5% of all manufacturing jobs.

Source: General Motors Company; 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. 

But while manufacturing has brought the United States economy unprecedented wealth, it's recently been more headache than help. Outsourcing, improved technology, and a global recession have mangled manufacturing's role as America's everlasting employer.

Since its 2009 bailout, General Motors Company has been cutting jobs and trading out high-paid workers for cheaper labor. The automaker has hired around 18,000 hourly production workers, allowing the company to remove skilled trade jobs. The Center for Automotive Research says General Motors Company saves approximately $57,000 a year when it hands a pink slip to a high-skilled $32-per-hour earner and hires a $15-per-hour employee instead.

2. Subsisting on services
But manufacturing might not even matter much to the United States economy. Today, the sector employs around one-tenth of America's workforce, while the services sector has soared to nearly 90%.

General Motors Company topped the top employer list in 1960, but the biggest spots in 2010 were all filled by services corporations. In first place, Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT  ) employed an astounding 2.1 million people -- that's equal to the population of Houston, the country's fourth-largest city.

The biggest goods-producing employer in 2010 was Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ  ) , with just 324,600 employees. Not only is that less than General Motors Company employed in 1960, but it's shrinking even more. Hewlett-Packard Company announced on New Year's Eve that it will cut 5,000 more jobs, bringing its total termination count to 34,000 -- 11% of its entire workforce.  

For a closer look at services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics periodically releases data on the hottest occupations in the United States economy. For May 2012 (the most recent data available), retail salespersons, cashiers, and restaurant workers snagged the top three spots. Collectively, these three industries alone employ a staggering 10.6 million Americans.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

But the news isn't all good for services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also tracks hourly wages, and our nation's largest employers are also paying pennies compared to manufacturing. While General Motors Company is happy to hire $15-per-hour workers, the average cashier makes just $9.21.

The lowest earners list is littered with services workers. Food preparation workers have it worst, earning just $7.92 per hour. That's lower than the minimum wage for 15 states.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

3. Giving up for good

Source: National Archives; Unemployed wait outside a soup kitchen in 1931. 

While the services sector keeps its employees on subsistence wages and manufacturing jobs continue to get cut, the biggest problem may be getting workers to work-period. The global financial crisis pushed the United States economy's unemployment rate from an enviable 4.5% to an ugly 10% in just two years' time.

US Unemployment Rate Chart

US Unemployment Rate data by YCharts

But although rates are back down to 6.7%, it's not because employers are hiring. Many Americans are simply giving up and leaving the work force altogether, making numbers look better than they actually are. Since 2007, the number of employable Americans looking for work has dropped from 66.4% to a measly 62.8%, the lowest since 1978.

US Labor Force Participation Rate Chart

US Labor Force Participation Rate data by YCharts.

The future of the United States economy
The United States economy is in a rut. Although the Federal Reserve recently noted that things have "picked up" in recent quarters, it described labor market indicators as "mixed." With current movements between manufacturing and services, as well as in and out of the economy altogether, it's easy to understand why. Employment is the undisputed backbone to the United States economy, allowing America to both produce and purchase.

America's road to recovery
Manufacturing will never employ as many Americans as it did in 1960. But for America to make a comeback, it doesn't have to. For the first time since the early days of this country, we're in a position to dominate the global manufacturing landscape thanks to a single, revolutionary technology: 3D printing.

Although this sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, the success of 3D printing is already a foregone conclusion to many manufacturers around the world. The trick now is to identify the companies -- and thereby the stocks -- that will prevail in the battle for market share. To see the three companies that are currently positioned to do so, simply download our invaluable free report on the topic by clicking here now.


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  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 4:58 PM, The1MAGE wrote:

    People not participating is really a psychological problem. I have met many people who didn't even try, using the economy, or their race, (Black, White, and Hispanic,) as an excuse.

    For me, when the economy dropped, I was in the middle of trying to get out of debt. Both my pay and hours were cut. But the funny part of this was that I had hit a point where our debt was cut down more then the income I had lost. We were able to keep paying off debt, and our bank account kept growing.

    Many successful businesses have been started because somebody lost a job. I am currently one of those "not participating" but by choice. I have a standing offer to go back to work whenever I want, but am working on building a passive income so I don't have to. (About a quarter of the way there right now.)

    What I am getting at is don't ever limit yourself. So the economy is bad, people are still getting jobs, and starting businesses. Maybe you have to do work you dislike, and find a job that isn't in your field, but at least it's a step.

    Looking at how the economy is working is just statistics. People will pay attention to the 10% unemployment rate, not the 90% employed rate.

    Even at the worst, there were cities where the unemployment rate was never below what is thought of as good nationwide. Some people moved to those cities, but more just gave up. If more had moved, it wouldn't have affected those cities too much, and would have alleviated the pressure on the higher unemployment cities.

    Getting political, we can see a difference between how cities that are successful are run as opposed to those that are struggling. Unfortunately these are the statistics that are ignored, and the ideas of how to "fix" the economy, both of these cities, and of the nation run counter to what actually works. One research paper found that the actions of FDR extended the Great Depression by 7 years, (Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112, No. 4 (August 2004), pp. 779-816) but that is who we try to emulate for fixing this economy.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:48 AM, ScotchAce wrote:

    America's Economy Problem is the simple fact that American Worker's have been sold out by the Treasonous Filth that governs We The People.

    Do you think it's a co-incidence that our sleazy, corrupt, politicians are richer now that at any other time in Our Nations History? It's not funny that all manufacturing jobs left this country at the same exact time that these sleazebags got rich.

    Americans need to arm up, hit DC with a vengeance and wipe the treasonous filth off the map.

    We need new leaders that would never allow a Trade Deficit such that it is. Clinton started the export of jobs to China, South Korea, and Taiwan, with NAFTA, we have been sold out more and more ever since then.

    Arm Yourselves America! Time to take our country back!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:54 AM, SLTom992 wrote:

    I still cannot understand WHY people cannot understand that the "unemployment rate" is a line of bull coming out of the administration.

    People are not ceasing to search for work. The JOBS are not there. And as was demonstrated in the chart above, most people are underemployed and underpaid because of that.

    Increasing minimum wage does nothing but make the problem worse.

    One major problem is the vast number of illegal aliens here that are taking jobs away from Americans. What's more they're willing to take less than Americans for the same jobs.

    The vast manufacturing cities of the east - Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago - now have large areas that look like bombed out war zones.

    This is what you can expect from Socialism.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:56 AM, SLTom992 wrote:

    ScotchAce - you have a very good point about the wealth of the Congress and government workers in general. But remember that the Congress and President were always rich men to start with. Though it appears now that they become rich men from being elected.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:57 AM, zander21 wrote:

    1# Don't buy anything made in china

    2# We are being financed by china REALLY

    3# The people in Washington, Obama, Clinton and the greedy politicians.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:59 AM, Howdie wrote:

    Read Kurt Vonnegut's first book "Player Piano". It predicts a world where are the middle-level jobs are gone. There's a small elite class that is rich and is paid to think and make decisions. Then everyone else as menial jobs are subsistence wages.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:06 AM, tf313 wrote:

    Radical technological change and globalization are the culprits. No one, particularly in this polarized political climate, could fix this easily. There will be period of adjustment. Things will NEVER be the same.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:06 AM, Revernedbob wrote:

    All of the charts and graphs look great but it's really not that complicated. What's destroying the U.S. economy is 30+ years of so-called "supply-side" economics, brought to us by that worthless maniac Ronald Reagan and his paymasters.

    The decline actually began in the early 1970s when the U.S. passed its peak oil production which resulted in our losing control of the ability to price oil, the world's most critical commodity. Since that time the U.S. economy has been in steady decline and the working class are the ones who ave paid the biggest price.

    This dramatic shift in economic power, from a globally superior industrial economy, to a pathetically inept, oil dependent service economy driven by consumer consumption, played a big part in the success of the Reaganites and their trickle-down economic charade.

    The U.S. has never recovered from the disastrous consequences of the Reagan era policies which included, among other things, unsustainable tax cuts for the rich and for corporate taxpayers, which in turn led to a massively over-taxed Middle Class.

    When combined with the "free trade" movement, which led to the dismantling of domestic manufacturing, and the monetary policies of the Fed, which have undermined the stability of the US Dollar, the economic policies that were ushered in under Reagan's watch have reduced the U.S. to the status of a Third World debtor nation.

    The next step will be a Greece style meltdown only on a much more devastating scale. The pols and the central planners know this is coming and they know there is nothing they can do about, which is why they appear to be indifferent to the problem....Welcome to the nightmare!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:07 AM, CHbobray11 wrote:

    Didn't take long to start blaming politicians for problems they don't have any control over.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:07 AM, stanley38 wrote:

    For those of us who are willing to work with our hands as well as our heads there will always be money to be made. After 18 years I was Downsized, started my own company with very little money grew to one employee in 5 years sold the company to said employee after another 5 years and retired to my farm.By accident I am now selling recycled farm equipment, making more money than I could imagine and having a great time doing it.

    Invest in Yourself First

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:15 AM, Len47 wrote:

    When the government takes wealth from some to give to others,the people who make wealth will stop,

    Leave or go on the dole too. The government has then killed incentive, with no incentive to produce wealth we we all be equal. Poor!except for the government. These are the fruits of Marxism.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:16 AM, firemegwhitman wrote:

    What kind of country do you expect when the vote and money whores (politicians) sell out the jobs and we end up with a negative balance of trade. Both parties pushed free trade . This lie removed our import taxes but left other countries taxes on our imports in place. Trillions spent in the mideast and nothing to show for it but dead and injured Fathers, Mothers and Children. Meg whitman gets a raise ise for firing thousands of workers. We have payer subsidized low wages. When someone works full time and still qualifies for assistance we have tax payer subsidized low wages. No nation has ever survived a negative balance of trade. None.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:32 AM, plange01 wrote:

    AMERICA HAS NOT HAD A PRESIDENT IN OVER FIVE YEARS!!!!!!!! AND UNTIL IT GETS ONE THE COUNTRY WILL MOVE TOWD A MAJOR COLLAPSE THAT HAS ALRADY STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:32 AM, nvwildoates wrote:

    The blame is with us. We allowed our schools to become so un-educated that we have lost the lead in the world. But yet our uneducated wants to make big money, thus we lost the manufacturing jobs. We can point the finger to all those we think was the cause, but WE were the cause. Until we get serious about education, the return of working values, it will continue to be a downward spiral. We need to take charge of what our government is meant to be, working for us. WE need to accept that WE allowed all of this to happen. Then and only then will things change.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:34 AM, GaMbaJd wrote:

    I actually remember 1960.

    Back then, most women were not in the labor pool, thus I am confident that the "participation" rate using the using the criteria in the article (presumably men AND women from say 18 to 65) would have been below 50%.

    On the other hand, most people didn't eat out every day, much less two or three times per day. Thus the "Combined food preparation.." (fast food workers) were a very small segment of society (McDonald's was NOT on every corner), etc.

    So in short, a good bit of the change has been women going to work to earn money to pay for fast food since they didn't have time to cook. This has the appearance of dropping the average income, but to compare apples to apples you would have to include the stay at home moms at an average wage of $0 per hour for the greatest percentage of "Combined food preparation...), dishwashers, Cook fast food, counter top attendants, cashes, and again Food Preparation workers (so many different categories for the same general category).

    But to address the conclusion of the article - that there is a bright future as more manufacturing jobs are taken over by 3D printing ????. Just one more step in replacing human workers with technology.

    Fast forward 50 or so years, when everything is made by 3D printers (like the Star Trek replicators), INCLUDING other 3D printers..

    Then what?

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:38 AM, jmgconsultants wrote:

    In order to improve our economy, we need people in office that understands what a free market system works and why it is important that we have less government not more government involvement. We need to get rid of Obamacare, get rid of Dodd-Frank, change the tax code, get rid of some of the EPA regulations and also improve our education systems along the way. We need to fire this November all those democrats that believe in socialism and those who are progressives. We need to have people who actually ran a business and understands the role of the private sector in office. We need to fire the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and make Harry Reid a minority leader and then fire him when it is time for his re-election and in 2016 we need to put in as President someone who knows what it is to be an American, American pride, free market system knowledge and who actually ran a business instead of a community organizer who never ran anything in his life including a lemonade stand. Then and only then we can restore American economy and put people back to work.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:40 AM, dbwfallen42 wrote:

    Our government has given up on supporting us and is only focused on retaining their positions and undeserved jobs. I will no longer vote for ANY Republican or Democrat in all future elections.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:41 AM, calaya wrote:

    First of all this nation WAS NOT built off the backs of John Rockefeller who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth ( I suggest you research the Rockefeller family history ) nor Mr. Henry Ford. But rather of the blood sweat and tears of the slave and the common man black and white alike. Secondly the same force you call yourself giving credit to for building this nation ( the global financiers and corporations ) are the same ones who sold the American worker out for the sake of greater profits. Which is to say greed ! Not to say that I am in any way against capitalism because I'm not. I'm just wise enough to know that greed is not a prerequisite for success. At least not when it comes to the American people.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:44 AM, rayrock1 wrote:

    You should also mention that Kelly Services, a temp agency, is now the second largest private sector employer in the U.S. This means that many who have full-time positions have little to no job security and there are often times no benefits with those temp jobs.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:53 AM, edimike99 wrote:

    In response to the Reverned: We have had 8 years of Bill Clinton and Almost 6 of BHO. So, if entering the world of free trade was so horrible then why didn't/hasn't either one of them changed our laws? I think it is because every American wants to have choice to buy what they want, when they want, and from how they want. Maybe that's why so many American buy and drive imports. Could we have foreseen that our companies would look to find cheaper resources oversee? If we didn't, we should have.

    Maybe our government, both parties, should have realized that we needed to make our country a place that welcomes business. Get rid of the progressive income tax and tax consumption of durable goods. That way people who can afford to buy expensive luxury items pay a lion share of the tax. When it comes to taxes we should all have the same skin in the game. When you have a country full of people who are always willing to raise somebody elses tax what did you think would happen? If I make 50k a year and pay 15% I would gladly accept a guy making 10 million as long as he paid is 15%. Asking for more taxes, on someone else, will never help this country.

    Here is a brainstorm for leaders. Make doing business in this country cost neutral. Some companies will move to the cheapest resources because they don't have the margins you believe they do. But, most importantly, others will find that they can stay close to their market and still survive. Either we are free to buy, create, and move about the world or we try to build a wall around the US to protect us from the cheap resources that we love. Central planning doesn't work, ask the Soviets.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:58 AM, pwkrp wrote:

    A lot of manufacturing jobs will never come back do to automation and the use of robots in production.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:05 AM, main1event wrote:

    The reason more Americans are poor is the destruction of money ( inflation) The government should allow the market to collapse, and let deflation take a foot hold. 25 cents an hour used to be a lot of money. At one time $10.00 an hour was good money. However, the government bailouts and more debt creation will ultimately make $100.00 an hour a non livable wage. We need to get our monetary system back into order first before anything. The government is too big to fail, and thats exactly why we need less government.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:07 AM, clloyd53 wrote:

    The problem is that corporate executives and the politicians that only dream of great wealth can care less about tomorrow. They figure that by time the economy completely implodes. They will be off in hiding with their wealth. And laughing at the Fools left to deal with and clean up their mess.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:08 AM, justsayhello wrote:

    Ok I'm not an economist so not sure whats or who is the problem but.. do you think it's the "credit"?

    Nearly everything in US is borrowed. Homes, Cars, Education, Food, etc.

    Credit - I hate that word. It translates to - Use tomorrows money TODAY and you can use more than you can have..

    Credit - is our enemy. Credit feels good right now, but it creates artificial demand. Credit is - Fake Future and that's what we have today.

    Even our Gov't borrows money... From China (lol)

    By the way, the economy in my house is doing just fine, since I don't have any borrowed things and I don't have any credit cards. If I cant pay cash - I don't buy anything...

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:20 AM, VK wrote:

    The big problem is OUTSOURCING. During past 20+years I worked for 3 major manufacturers. All three were transferring manufacturing facilities to Asia due to low labor cost there. One of the companies had completely shut down the factories here. A well paying manufacturing job = $50 -$100K in income depend on your skills,training and experience. You could pay for your family living easy plus paying Taxes so the country would not be heavily in DEBT. As the author honestly shows that service jobs does not pay enough to be independent or save for the retirement and very often needs the Government support instead of paying taxes to the Government. Our Government must make some drastic steps in order to return back the jobs we lost to Asia but they do not have needed leadership and unity. All they can is print more money to support their spending at the expense of savers and retired people as big inflation is to follow.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:26 AM, bobduke2691 wrote:

    Before getting a nursing job.. I worked in factories for over 42 years. I ALWAYS had benefits and a retirement or pension. Now they have taken away benefits, overtime, pensions and last but not least JOBS. Now they want to make you pay your own retirement and insurance with no jobs and if you are lucky enough to get a job they are mediocre wages to say the least. And yet the people who make the rules are millionaires. There will never be a government we can trust again. Rules are made to raise taxes for workers and those that make rules are reaping the benefits.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:30 AM, ModTFord wrote:

    What a refreshing start to an otherwise dismal winter day. Justin Loiseau, you have this situation under you command. Excellent synopsis and conclusion. Our little group of under utilized management has discussed this issue for the last four years and have come up with the same conclusions. Perhaps you can get more 'precious media time' than is allotted for us that are outside the beltway. Best of luck with the truth in the obamanation.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:35 AM, mark636 wrote:

    Obamacare put a major cost on employers mainly hurting small to medium sized companies.

    America you voted for this so deal with it

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:41 AM, ralley2014 wrote:

    The issue with the economy is Barack Obama and liberal Democrats and Republicans. Their policies are collapsing the us dollar, crushing job growth and causing inflation. Obamacare destroys both healthcare and millions of jobs. If these villains are not dealt with soon (I mean SOON) the Great Depression will look like the best of times compared to what is coming.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:41 AM, smithrl5 wrote:

    I read articles everyday about the lower participation rate in the labor force. Almost none of them mention the fact that the boomers are retiring at a rate of > 10,000 per day. They are turning 62,63, 64 or 65 at a combined rate of >40,000 per day. This started in Jan 2011. There is no historical event to compare this to but it has to have an effect. I think that since retiring by choice is positive news it has no place in the news!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:42 AM, edwardfinley83 wrote:

    If you look closely at the two graphs which represents the US Unemployment Rate and the US Labor Force Participation rate, you'll notice that in 2008 (when Obama took office) the former shows a sharp increase in unemployment, while the latter shows a steep drop in Labor Force participation around that same time period. This further proves that Obama has solely damaged the economy. Bush meanwhile kept both at low rates for both of his terms.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:49 AM, thsolo wrote:

    The biggest drag on the U.S. economy is government rules, regulatory agencies, taxes, borrowing, printing of money, digitizing money...in a word, government.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:54 AM, mediomundo wrote:

    I am amazed at how people read the charts to their benefits. Some say that Bush had nothing to do with our economy going down hill and that it was all Obama's fault which they can see on the charts. Were you not here 5 years ago? Everything started collapsing under Bush and then Obama came in. Once our economy was on a downhill trend, it would be hard to stop. So yes Bush had a lot to do with it. I also blame the big businesses because they are hiring the illegals for a lot less. Look at how many are states pay less than the minimum wage. Why is that? That would be illegal right? So a big portion of the problem deals to the greed of the rich who do not care. They want a bigger profit so break the law and hire the illegals. I do not blame the illegals because they are here because the jobs are here. If the employers would pay a decent wage to Americans like it used to be, then we would have more AMERICANS working. If the employer would follow the law and not hire illegals, we would have more jobs for Americans. The employers are our biggest criminals and should go to jail. They blame the illegals and Americans believe them not seeing the truth of who the true criminal is.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:00 AM, MisnotM wrote:

    A couple of issues not covered here are sector losses to outsourcing and visa abuse. Lobbyist push for the removal or at least the increase of visa types and caps while there is no oversight or enforcement of the many sundry visa abuses. Outsourcing and offshore manufacturing subsidized by tax incentives was the stupidest idea a government ever allowed to happen. With outsourced labor career employment and tax revenue is lost while workers are added to the dole. Tax subsides on this and on manufacturing producing abroad have lead to absurd, unrealistic manufacturing situations like when it is now economically viable to kill a pig in the US and ship it to the PRC to be processed. The American people never saw any of the promise reductions in goods cost only the executives made out with the budget freed up by firing everyone who did anything they aid themselves hue bonuses.

    It became a huge ugly joke.

    When executives like Carly Fiorina were finished taking a respectable, magnificently advanced and profitable communications company like Lucent from selling the equipment the internet ran on and reducing it by downsizing to selling disposable Win-modems she used the crony system to get in to HP and immediately started wholesale layoffs while increasing the corporate private jet air force and of course increasing her payout.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:00 AM, honestyproject wrote:

    The Postal Service employed the same tactics as GM as they were automating the mail processing segment. Mail processing was not competed until 2006. Before 06, the mail that is being processed now was routinely thrown away. The post office does not generate it's revenue from mail delivery. The money comes from mail processing. the mail that is processed is processed by the independent mail processors who were created by the post office, at the beginning of automation, to make up for the shortage in trained postal employees. They were and are given the mail processing equipment free. No-bid tax free contracts are circulated between postal managers, equipment manufacturers and the independent processors. This mail is not monitored for delivery and the contracts are not monitored or audited. The real estate crisis, created by our politicians, allowed the banks to do the same thing to the middle class.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:01 AM, bleep67 wrote:

    American business has ignored what we learned from Henry Ford. When he was chastised for paying his workers an unheard of $5 a day, he responded by explaining that now they will be able to buy cars.

    This was the foundation for a healthy middle class and a strong American economy. The 80's motto, "greed is good" torpedoed that sort of thinking with focus on the bottom line and short-term profit.

    Granted, globalization hasn't helped, but the walmatization of America has enriched the few at the expense of many.

    My career was with Northwest Airlines, a microcosm of what went wrong. In 1977, NWA owned all it's airplanes, did ALL it's own maintenance, and farmed out nothing (even the janitors and security personnel. Every employee had a defined benefit pension, health care, and decent pay, while the CEO made less than $150,000 a year.

    By the mid 90's contract and wage concessions were the order of the day. Health insurance came with a sizable cost and pensions were frozen. All in the name of competition, while the CEO compensation reached into the millions.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:05 AM, bleep67 wrote:

    Anyone using this discussion to lambast Obama (tiresomely popular these days) lives up to the billing of "our foolish readers". You have been indoctrinated well...have another kool ade.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:10 AM, mkcmarine wrote:

    Well after five years of Obama's and his political party's economic agenda it is plain to see that it is all Bush's fault.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:10 AM, anonymous11 wrote:

    I disagree with this article that uneducated workers only are preferred. There are professions were education is necessary to practice in those fields. For example, you cannot have an undeducated physician, dentist, nurse, anesthesiologist, veterinarian, opthalmologist, etc. The point is that education is still preferred to being "uneducated". The problem is that everyone is not going to work for the auto industry. Perhaps in that industry you still can have uneducated individuals that can learn on the job with training. Plumbers, electricians, etc. still require certification and education. Computer software and engineers are still required to have an education. The second issue of giving up on finding employment is because the American economy provides for those individuals that are not employed. If you cut off food stamps, unemployment, and disability those individuals are going to be forced to find employment. I do agree that we are a service economy at the moment. We do depend on service rather than on manufacturing because American companies have taken the manufacturing to other countries. Since the economy is cyclical, this might change in the future. It has to do with not charging high taxes on materials coming into the US from other countries. If we charge high fees on imports, perhaps companies would reconsider, as a cost effective measure, to bring manufacturing back to the US. The US needs to have a government that helps, not hinders, business.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:17 AM, mikegalt wrote:

    Public schools have failed for close to 50 years now. Funding for the public schools has gone up each year as teacher's unions use poor student performance to demand higher salaries and more benefits. Teachers don't have to prepare lectures and teaching material anymore and homework that a teacher needs to review and grade is a thing of the past. Common Core is the final blow to US education with basic math, reading, writing, and history courses now gutted or cancelled and replaced with teaching propaganda. You dare not give an poor student who does not even show up for 1/3 of the school days a failing grade.... it will urt hisher self-esteem! Half the inner city school kids don't graduate. 1/3 of inner city school kids don't even show up on any single day. How can there be continuity of learning? Including the dumbest and slowest learners and disruptive kids in the classroom with kids who do want to learn gurantees that all are taught down to the lowest level. Do you really wonder why all the jobs listed in this article are over filled, under paid and lead to no where?

    The USA government has driven jobs out of the USA with high taxes, excessive regulations, and even direct subsidies to companies if they reloacte in another country . Just read about the Overseas private Investment Corporation which is not private and not a corporation but a government program that uses taxpayers dollars to insure companies that move factories to another country from loses due to political instability there.

    Socialism has made the USA collapse. Government takes 65% of the GNP now and pays government workers who do no productive work 125% of the salary and pension of private sector workers. The effects of ObamaCare has been a disaster many of us foresaw when the bill was passed. The elitists progressive-liberal-Marxists were not just providing insurance to people who had no insurance....they took over the entire medical care system which is 1/6th or more of the USA economy. Everything government touches is botched, has enormous cost overruns and has devastating "unintended consequences." Businesses now fire full time workers to avoid paying high health insurance premiums for them. They hire part time workers or buy a robot or machine that does the same job as the minimally educated minimum wage workers. Those US workers can't even find these low paying jobs because 15 million illegal aliens come into the USA and take the jobs. Our citizens prefer getting welfare checks to working. Atlas is Shrugging. Who is John Galt?

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:18 AM, totallydisgusted wrote:

    For decades you have had some politicians claim that illegal immigrants help the economy.

    Illegal immigrants do not spend money in this economy the way Americans do. They do not invest, use money as "disposable income" for entertainment/consumerist purposes, they work the system to get back money they've paid in taxes through earned income credits and by taking public benefits, send their money back to their country to their families. And yes, they have helped to bring wages WAY down.

    I live in SoCal and I see it everyday. I know a woman who hires a Mexican as a live-in nanny. She works 5 days a week for cash, and takes her money back to Mexico to spend on the weekends; she doesn't spend a dime here.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:21 AM, Rebel wrote:

    For those who say minimum wage doesn't need to be raised, let's do some math. Minimum wage in 1964, when money was still worth something, was $1.25. The melt value of $1.25 in coins from 1964, in today's dollars, is over $19.00. Pay has not kept up with the cost of living. Period. So the answer is simple. Stop destroying the dollar and go back to a currency of real value. Doesn't have to be gold, just back the dollar with something. It's not right for the triple tax the working class receive everyday. We are taxed on what we earn, then taxed again with inflation, then taxed when we die. When is enough enough?

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:25 AM, GuitarJim wrote:

    The article is basically a summary of statistics. Nothing really new here.

    The closing comment about 3D printing is absurd. 3D printing techniques cannot be used with the majority of materials used in manufacturing, including wood, paper, and metals. Most current 3D printing machines are limited to specific types of plastics. Further, 3D printing is an extremely slow way to manufacture a part. Injection molding is better than 100 times faster for most of the plastics used. 3D printing is useful for producing prototypes since you don't need to first manufacture the molds. It allows engineers to play with designs, and allows hobbyists to manufacture things they couldn't otherwise manufacture, but there is no chance 3D printing is going to have any real impact in mass manufacturing anytime soon.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:34 AM, Davidjohanson wrote:

    I work for a manufacturing company that has seen their sales rise 20% a year for the last 3 years. Their biggest problem right now is trying to find programmers for the high tech equipment they have. I've taken all the training offered for this equipment as others have not. My wages have increased while others who don't take the training have stayed the same. If people choose not to update their skills , whose fault is that.

    This lack of skills in the labor force is preventing the company I work for from expanding, which in turn keeps the economy stagnant.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:46 AM, taylor1277 wrote:

    what it all boils down to is the extinction of the middle class,you will either be in the rich class or poor class.slavery isn't about race anymore its about being on top or the bottom where everyone will be a slave.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:08 PM, 1freedomwriter wrote:

    Mark blaming Obamacare is about as dumb as blaming the toothfairy.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:12 PM, 1freedomwriter wrote:

    The problem is the mentality of America. A whole segment of this population believes free market is the answer and government the problem but that's backwards.

    We control the government with votes, I mean we would if we bothered to vote or for those that vote be educated about who you vote for. When is the last time you voted for someone to be rich? Or for a giant corporation?

    But in your feeble minds you think it's a good idea to give free reign to business or the most greedy of people who would generally step on their own mothers back to achieve fortune.

    The only answer is participation in the political process, voting. Through that medium we can get rid of political parties, end free trade with impoverished nations, institute tight regulation so those greedy sobs can rip us all off, etc. etc. etc

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:25 PM, emal2me wrote:

    When when a company is shut down to move overseas we lose that company as well as their employees tax revenue while ratcheting up the demand for social services in the same instant.

    There really isn't any such thing as cheap imports when we consider the added cost of social services that are tacked on the back end. Of course the GOP has a brilliant solution - cut social services to their victims.

    We must realize that "cheap imports" have negative consequences.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:27 PM, wernbrian wrote:

    Is there a realistic way to keep jobs in America when the same labor could be obtained for one fifth of the price elsewhere(China or India)?

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:27 PM, SaddenedAmerican wrote:

    Outsourcing is THE PINK ELEPHANT in the corner of the corporate boardrooms, the Oval Office, and the floors of the national and state legislatures. Our leaders and law makers do not want to address this fact that is killing the manufacturing that made our country great. We still make the highest quality goods on this planet, but that doesn't seem to matter to bottom line oriented people here and abroad.

    I work inspecting a federal and state funded power plant under construction in the USA. Almost every bit of material used to build this plant is foreign made. Only the steam turbine and generator it turns to make electricity are American made. I even suspect that may not be the case. All the steel pipe, steel framing, steel tanks, pumps, heat exchangers, and sophisticated packaged equipment is all foreign-made. The prime contractor is a foreign based construction company who knows nothing about American manufacturing and construction quality, codes, construction methods, and could care even less!

    The foreign made material on this job that your taxes have bought is nothing but old American made steel that was once our mighty warships, liberty ships, office buildings, factory boilers and piping that was recycled by shipping it overseas, where the lead painted and asbestos insulated tainted scrap iron is cut up by barefoot, child laborers wearing no protection from any hazardous materials they are exposed to while they earn 10 to 50 CENTS OF WAGE PER DAY!!!

    Further, the scrapping process is done with no environmental controls or protection in foreign harbors and on lands often frequented by natural disasters, like rains, floods, earthquakes, etcetera. All events that would compound the environmental contamination.

    Outsourcing has merely shipped environmental catastrophes in the making overseas to foreign lands and companies WHOSE GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS LEADERSHIP DO NOT CARE that they are polluting their own water, land, and people, while creating LOW QUALITY INFERIOR products to sell back to the world. Corrupt leadership gives and accepts bribe money, sells products on the black market, ALL WHILE TURNING AWAY PRETENDING THEY ARE BLIND TO THE PROBLEMS THEY ARE CREATING FOR THEMSELVES, THEIR COUNTRIES, AND THEIR PEOPLE.

    It amazes me that OUR TAX DOLLARS fund this project and PERPETUATE THE WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL AND LABOR EXPLOITATION. All this is done under the ruse of bottom line economics, lowest possible cost of produced goods. Here's the injury to the insult or vice versa. The foreign made products bought and installed on this power plant construction ARE INFERIOR, LESSER GRADE THAN ANY IDENTICAL AMERICAN-MANUFACTURED products!

    How is this true, you ask? Foreign made steel used for materials in this U.S. power plant IS NOTHING BUT MELTED and reshaped SCRAP AMERICAN MADE steel now produced by sweat shop laborers in foreign steel mills WITH ALMOST NO QUALITY STANDARDS, CONTROLS OR OVERSIGHT. Although their products may be stamped with all the right manufacturing certifications, this would not be the first time products may be falsely labeled. Without expensive confirmation materials testing, WE WILL NEVER KNOW, until some catastrophe brings out the truth.

    The foreign made structural steel in this power plant was not manufactured to all the correct plans and specifications. Some of it was not as thick as required, say 3/8 inch versus required 1/2 inch. Some 8 bolt connections were made as 4 bolt connections. Full penetration, full perimeter welds were just tack welded and not full perimeter. These manufacturing defects had to be field corrected and re-engineered at great costs to the USA taxpayer. BUT THIS PRODUCT CAME FROM AN ISO-9001, QUALITY CONTROLLED FOREIGN MANUFACTURER, or SO THEY SAY.

    Any possible cost savings from purchasing the foreign made products was spent fixing the poor quality products on site, by inspecting, grinding, re-welding, reinforcing and re-testing the steel AFTER TAKING CORRECTIVE ACTION. To make matters even worse, the steel was coated with a corrosion inhibitor paint that is hazardous to use and apply in the USA, and cannot be ground off without worker respirators and dust containment!

    IF THIS WAS STEEL ACTUALLY MADE IN AMERICA, THESE PROBLEMS WOULD NOT EXIST, but outsourscing is a GOOD thing, RIGHT!

    With the American economy in such a poor state, why can't the government fund TAXPAYER-PAID stimulus projects like this power plant REQUIRING that ALL THE MATERIALS used to build this AMERICAN power plant be AMERICAN MADE, BY AMERICAN LABOR, IN AMERICAN BASED FACTORIES AND MANUFACTURING FACILITIES????

    It's too expensive with American labor costs the corporate leaders and legislators tell us. But if you add up all the costs to correct all the foreign-made product deficiencies, you find out that you spent the same amount if you used all American products, materials and labor in the first place.

    So, it really is that simple as to how to stimulate the American economy.

    Instead, our HARD EARNED MONEY that we use TO PAY AMERICAN TAXES is ACTUALLY paying for some poor foreign child to contaminate his/her own self with toxins, pollute their country's water and soil, all just for SLAVE WAGES, and just so some corporation can manufacture an inferior, cheaper, less costly product to sell world wide

    Let's not even mention how using these inferior manufactured products put peoples' lives, livelihoods, and quality of living at risk and jeopardy!

    BOY, TALK ABOUT PINK ELEPHANTS IN THE CORNER OF THE ROOM! DARE I SAY THAT MANY LEADERS ARE BEING LIKE OSTRICHES AND PUTTING THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND, PRETENDING THAT THERE IS NO PROBLEMS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T SEE ANY!!!!

    Mark my words and pay attention for the impending world environmental crises that arise from OUTSOURCING recycling and manufacturing to THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES just to reduce labor costs.

    It will be just like the environmental disasters that we saw uncovered in America during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Love Canal, Lake Erie on fire, DDT and the California Condor, lead paint in housing projects, asbestos insulation, PCBs in transformers, groundwater contamination by dumped toxics.

    Remember these 2 things. First, all toxic chemicals, materials and processes used in manufacturing that are banned in the USA, are not necessarily banned world-wide. Second, the world could and should learn from all the mistakes America has made. If not, it is just like the age old history lesson. If we do not learn from our historical mistakes, then we are destined to repeat them.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:32 PM, peterwolf wrote:

    You can count me in the 'giving up for good' category.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:51 PM, kickchina wrote:

    Some simple Econ 101 facts, only tradable goods and services that can be marketed beyond say 50 miles add wealth to an area. 90% of this is from energy, manufacturing and agriculture. (food production) all other local service jobs just recirculate money from these drivers. That is why when a plant closes the whole local economy suffers. Cheap labor means nothing if lack patents and patented technology and why China forces american companies to share technology or manufacture there for market access. We have open markets , their's is closed. We are biggest suckers in world, and both parties , multinationals and wall st are to blame.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 1:21 PM, kennyhobo wrote:

    When your President uses government coercion to attack political opponents, you know he is incapable of leading an good direction for America. He is taking money from the job producers and paying the uneducated who refuse to get an education. He is giving money from hard working people to the people who dropped out of school and refuse to help their kids get an education. Could Obama actually be setting up a new slave state? Will the people demand that welfare recipients shovel their driveway and cut their lawn?

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 1:25 PM, BigGoose wrote:

    Re: comment on General Motors, et al, ....living in the past. Those golden days are over, aka, - millions of uneducated, low skill workers relying on outside forces (government, big corporations) to create "pretend" work so they can walk around a factory floor pushing a broom @ $30 an hour.

    Now, as a work force participant, you have to provide value above and beyond what can be programmed into a chip, or done thru self service.

    Maybe if we outlaw self serve gas pumping we can bring back millions of high paying jobs for these guys ?

    No ??

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 2:12 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    <Maybe if we outlaw self serve gas pumping we can bring back millions of high paying jobs for these guys ?>

    LOL, there are actually two states that do this, and I live in one.... Here I am too stupid and unreliable to pump my own gas, but if I just drive 30 mi North, I magically become qualified and intelligent enough to pump! Not to mention that for the past 40 years I have been to inept to do what I did for pay when I was 18.

    There are all kinds of this fluff and idiocy built into our system and still we manage to be one of the most productive and inventive countries on the planet.

    AND THEN THERE IS THIS GEM:

    <Center for Automotive Research says General Motors Company saves approximately $57,000 a year when it hands a pink slip to a high-skilled $32-per-hour earner and hires a $15-per-hour employee instead.>

    IF YOU DO THE MATH JUSTIN, (which I will castigate you for) There is about $23,000 in savings unaccounted for by the difference in wages. That either means that the fired $32/hr "skilled earner" costs GM another $11/hr or so in fringes, or is actually a saboteur, OR BOTH.

    Of course some will argue its GM and so they will reap the whirlwind later from an unskilled workforce ditzing the production. I generally however when I see these kind of cuts , wonder "what the hell were all those people doing besides gumming up the works?"

    Just some random amusement at the expense of communal idiocy.... ;-)

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 2:49 PM, cruzinman wrote:

    What we are seeing was desscribed many years ago by Marx and Engels. Basically the Labor Theory of Value from Das Kapital states that capital will always flow in the direction in which it is most efficiently used. A manufacturing robot doesn't need sleep or vacation time, and the Chinese worker making $1.86/hour gets little of either working 70 hour weeks. The unemployed formerly high paid middle class American workers have been relegated to what Marx termed the "Industrial Reserve Army of Labor". They will be on the sidelines of the workforce on a semipermanent basis, soaking up government benefits, doing piece work when their labor can't be replaced by a machine.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 3:14 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Outsourcing of manufacturing was caused by U.S. taxes and the high cost of Union Labor. The U.S. tax rate is the second highest in the world, at 40%.

    Manufacturing companies on the Big Board have a legal responsibility to protect stockholder assets, which criminalizes any moral obligation to give back to society. Ergo, move.

    Who write tax law, the House Ways and Means Committee. Who controls the House Way and Means Committee. Since 1955 Democrats have controlled it 74.40% of the years.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 3:19 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    almost half of the service occupations you have listed as lowest earners are tip earning occupations. Their wages and their take home are two very different numbers.

    Most bartenders I know earn minimum wage but live a lower middle class life after tips.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 4:15 PM, foolsall wrote:

    Lot of finger pointing and haranguing on Politicians on both sides; but, what can be done to address the unemployment problem in a way that will be sustainable?

    It is not about the Left or Right; Red/Blue, Conservative/Liberal. The Unemployment Problem, the Financial Condition of the Country; and the huge disparity in Income and Wealth is so dire today; that one wouldn't miss the mark much to suggest: It's about the very Economic & Political Survival of the United States! We are beyond the tipping point in terms of viewing corrective measures as being something as easy & silly, as electing your party, or mine.

    The Challenge is of Epic Proportions: as big & important as the American Revolution; the Civil War; WW I & II; and, the Industrial & Tech Revolutions.

    In viewing the Charts; I was struck by the Fact of how many of those Jobs can be performed by Robots in the, Coming Age of Machines. A recent Study suggests that within 20 years; 46%, of the Jobs that exist today; will be performed by Machines. Research & Development in the field of Artificial Intelligence is making huge advances. Soon, very soon - - Robots will have the physical dexterity and intelligence that will far exceed that of Ordinary Human Beings. If we can't fill 4 million, "smart," jobs today; because Society is failing the Young; what is the prognoses for a future that includes having to compete with Smart Machines that are 99%, effective & efficient; while Man ekes out something like, 62% in the work place?. Machines & Robots work 24/7; don't require coffee breaks; always start to work on time; and don't complain. Where do you want to put your money? Permit me to post this; and come back with a few additional comments. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 4:24 PM, foolsall wrote:

    I'm sure some of you saw the Bill Gates article this morning that suggests raising the minimum wage will only speed up the development of Machines & Robots. That's an idol threat. The Machines are coming - - regardless. The Minimum Wage will have nothing to do with it. Investments in Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Machines is becoming all the rage. It will be the new Revolution! And, the Economic Divide with grow immensely greater as the Wealthy Invest; and Ordinary Working Americans struggle to compete with the New Kid on the Block.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 4:42 PM, foolsall wrote:

    Now friends, apply the Ayn Rand Philosophy of work and productivity - - with no safety nets; and, no compassion for someone - - anyone - - that can't work and produce. How would one survive? Darwin's Theory of Survival of the Fittest; and, Natural Selection, provides a convenient solution to the Nation's compelling, Social, Economic & Political Problems. Some say, that Smart Machines will be capable of providing the Ultimate Solution; The Thinning of the Herd! In essence; many, many people will likely be obsolete, in an ECONOMIC SENSE,; and, of little use; in a Society that measures progress not in terms of Compassion - - but only in terms of MONEY! Produce; create something of value, or Die!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 4:54 PM, Truegamer53 wrote:

    While we can debate the politics we also have to look at today's generation.

    Many Kid's from 17 - 28 think that they are entitled to everything and think that they should get 25 dollars an hour and sit on there bums and not do anything at least that is how it is where I live.

    So many people have learned that the government will take care of them that they will give up and if they don't like the starter work there going to complain because they can't handle a little hard work.

    What it has come down to is an era of you owe me this or your owe me that. When it really comes down to the last bare bone and cold hard truth we have become a nation of lazy people who would rather have someone else do our work.

    We have no one or nothing to blame but ourselves for the mess we have gotten ourselves into. To those who have Iphones yet are having trouble paying bills I say to you cancel your account and downgrade to an affordable plan. To those who can't live without your cable and would rather pay that bill than food. Give up cable and go back to slandered television. To the gamer who is addicted to their MMO's perhaps you should take a break until your in a better financial position to afford your monthly fee. The time has come for common sense. Is a game or Tv more important than food or a house ? Is your facebook update more important than making sure your bills are paid ? Is really that hard to do an honest days work to ensure that you to can pay your bills ?

    There are jobs out there but you have to look and never give up.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 5:29 PM, thomaskanary wrote:

    It will not change with Liberals in charge.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 5:42 PM, oneofthemasses wrote:

    The collapse of this country was planned out more then 100 years ago. And two of the founding authors of the plan are mentioned in this article. The only reason the dollar hasn't collapse is the use of paper bugury. The plan in a nut shell. In debt us beyond any hope of paying it off. Destroy any industrialization that exist here. Use up our military resources. They want to bring in a New World Order. We Americans will not give up our sovereignty and constitution for something far less. But if you can destroy and corrupt the system enough. And just before the dollar collapses we are attacked (WW3). This is key because you not going to except a system ran by the same people who wrecked this one. They will promise to save us. All we have to do is give up the a fore mentioned freedoms. We will be slaves forever.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 6:00 PM, HappyCustomer wrote:

    I served in the military for over 20 years and most of that was spent overseas. When I left we had a few Walmarts and stuff, but you could still buy goods that were made in America.

    When I returned I was shocked at what I saw. Strip mall after strip mall that looked like the same exact thing lined up one after another down every major highway. I remember looking for a present for my wife's birthday and not finding one single thing in the store that wasn't made in China.

    This didn't happen overnight. I remember when I was young that the old crusty guys used to say "buy made in America" and we all kind of snickered at them. Well now we have a situation where even if we did try to return a lot of these manufacturing jobs to the country there is no way that the salaries would be good enough to live on and prices for those goods would not be competitive.

    The other thing that people don't take into account is the fact that on average we have more stuff than any other civilization in history. We talk about things like cost of living and wages based on period, but we also have a lot of goods that are much cheaper than compared to those periods and we all have a lot more of them. We're a consumer based nation. And if you can't afford to buy it we'll front you the money on credit which leads to indebtedness.

    Another thing that people don't consider is technology. We've replaced a lot of things for digital or even virtual goods. When was the last time you went to a book store or went to a store to buy some music? How about a newspaper or magazine? Sure, we do from time to time, but for every web based or app driven good there are jobs that are lost from what they are replacing. When was the last time that you owned something that broke and you had it repaired? You likely just threw it away and bought a new one. That's a whole industry that has disappeared.

    People love to talk about the good old days as if we were better off and in some ways we definitely were. But many families had someone cooking every meal and in many cases they had a garden or even animals they raised to help feed themselves which saved on cost and was definitely healthier. Now we rely on a lot of manufactured foods; many of which have some pretty questionable things going on behind them in terms of health vs. profit. Bring in the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems that go unchecked and with all the new health problems you really can't get away from using them. We get sicker from eating processed foods and they have an unlimited, captive market. Ironically both of these industries are regulated by the FDA and to me we can look at aspartame as the moment in history when public interest was beaten by corporate. There's a reason why most of the stuff we legalized for consumption is illegal in most nations. In the meantime we've gotten fatter and sicker.

    I don't know, but there has been a lot of change in our culture for convenience and I think that we went past the sweet spot where it was an improvement and now it's just bad for us. Even worse we have a generation that if they had to wouldn't know how to grow food to feed themselves and if the manufacturing jobs did return they don't have any real skills because they never needed to use or to learn them.

    But to me the biggest mistake is that too many people look to our government to somehow change your situation, whether it's by creating a job or providing for them. Government does not create jobs. That's why we have a capitalist economy and people need to realize that the economic system and the government are two separate things. Companies create jobs. The government under Bush doled out massive tax cuts to try to stimulate job creation and Obama in his infinite wisdom extended them over and over again. Jobs were not created. Ironically government spending increased and revenue decreased (as it would when you cut taxes to the biggest payers).

    Even funnier is that many of the jobs that we did manage to get out of Walmart and fast food are so low wage that the government has to provide assistance to them because they are at or below the poverty level. So basically Walmart and McDonalds who are experiencing record earnings are paying less in taxes and letting the government pick up the difference because they aren't providing a livable wage. That just seems wrong to me somehow. It's like indirect corporate welfare and the masses are blaming the people who are out there actually trying to work even though these jobs are not exactly desirable.

    Not to come off as some socialist or something, but Einstein wrote a paper years ago pointing out many of the pitfalls behind a capitalist economic system. We are so attached to it because we've been programmed that any other system is somehow communist or something which is ridiculous considering one is a government and one is an economic system. We get led by some carrot that makes us believe that if we work hard that we will be a success and end up in a mansion or something so we don't want to give up the opportunity for that dream. But for every success story there are probably a million stories of hard working men and women who will never be economically secure or successful. And I've worked in fast food and retail and know that it's hard work. I'm fortunate in that I have a nice job making a ton of money, but I can say one thing definitively; I don't work nearly as hard as I did for 1/10th of the money that I earned in those low income jobs. My point is that many people look at low wage earners as being beneath them or as "getting over" or the favorite word of 2012 "being takers." But when the big companies were bailed out and the first thing that was paid out were bonuses no one ever accused them of being "takers." I can guarantee you that no unemployed person or worker at McDonalds got seven figures from the government.

    And we wonder why the pay disparity between CEO's and average workers are 20-30 times higher than any time in history and they "donate" billions of dollars annually into political campaigns. That's part of capitalism, like it or not. It's based purely on making money and that's it. I'm not saying that we should or even could change it, but I've come to accept it. I suppose that I'm just saying that we act as if things should be drastically different when I just don't see how they possibly could.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 6:31 PM, TKK1959 wrote:

    I don't see "Security Guards" wages on that list. I work for a local bank & I'm only making $11.35 an hour......been with them for 5 years too. I know it all sounds better than $9 something, but in TODAYS world, if you aren't making $14 to $16 an hour.....you ARE typically considered or SHOULD be considered as poor.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:20 PM, rdmcdonald48 wrote:

    Three enormous issues with the US economy - well, there are a hell of a lot more than 3.

    National Debt. The Congress of the United States in cooperation with reckless Presidents who feel that it is their lawful duty to give everything to everyone is 1 reason we are in such a predicament.

    These fools in office will never learn that you cannot buy your friends, and if you do - as soon as you run out of money, you're right back where you started only a lot poorer as a result.

    They don't give people an incentive to work, they give people an incentive to sit on their ass and get paid for not working.

    Taxes. Thanks to the performance of Congress and the Presidents; and their gifting policy, we now have to work more hours than we did, and get to keep less in our pockets as a result.

    Corporations are leaving the US because of the tax structure, not just cheaper labor and profit.

    IF the average American looked at every tax they pay, in comparison to their gross wage, they would quit working and live off the government dole too.

    Meddling Government Authority: Congress and the Presidents keep sticking their noses in places where they do not belong. Marriage is none of their business. Sexual orientation is none of their business. Managing America's health insurance is none of their business and they don't know what the hell they are doing.

    Legalizing black market drugs will create a more drug dependent society - and they know it. And letting 30 million illegals stay here and not shutting down the border is not only immoral, but should be illegal for them to do it. We have an immigration policy, it worked just fine for our forefathers, it should work for the next person who wants to come to America.

    We need to get rid of these people in Washington DC and just re-boot this whole thing. And clean it out while we are at it.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 8:33 PM, Jarda wrote:

    Thanks to Obama's "CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN"

    Isn't it amazing how in 5 years this Jerk transformed America.

    Soon we will be standing at the corner lines for the cup of the soup as they show at photo.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:53 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    It's worth pointing out that these three problems are all perfectly natural consequences of capitalism. The advance of technology increases efficiency and automation, reducing currently available jobs. This leaves people desperate (since we've tied human survival to employment) which allows companies to reduce wages to maximize profits, which is what they're supposed to do and designed to do. With fewer jobs available, eventually people do give up - and in any sane society, it'd be a good thing if fewer people had to work.

    That's the dark lining that accompanies capitalism - it misaligns incentives. Companies should maximize their profits and that hurts people when it reduces wages; nobody is doing anything wrong, but it still has negative consequences for human beings.

    The minimum wage isn't a great solution here, either, though it's better than nothing.

    A basic income guarantee would go a LONG way to ameliorating all of these problems, as well as allowing people to take advantage of the incredible increases in productivity and automation we've already experienced by engaging in more labour that isn't directly valued or compensated through market means (parenting, education, art, etc).

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:55 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    And to the people complaining about illegal immigrants "taking the jobs," you're demonstrating a serious misapprehension. When thousands of people move out of Buffalo or Detroit, it's quite rightly viewed as an economic catastrophe, not as an opportunity for tons of additional jobs to open up. When thousands of people move in to Houston or Raleigh, those cities are viewed as boom towns (quite rightly as well).

    But suddenly, when the thousands of people moving in to Houston are brown and from Mexico, they're "taking our jobs". It makes no sense and doesn't match the empirical evidence whatsoever.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:16 AM, luckyagain wrote:

    The upper 1% own 51% of the stock, bonds, real estate, etc in this country. The lower 50% own .5% of the wealth of the country.

    The upper 1% pays about 35% of the income tax. The lower 50% pays about 3% of income tax.

    The Republicans insist that the rich need more tax cuts. The 1% should be paying 51% of the income tax and the lower 50% should have their tax burden cut to .5%. It will never happen because the Rush dittoheads all focus on people who are cheating on welfare instead of the rich cheating on them.

    The Republicans insist that the US must spend more defense even though the US spends more than the next 13 largest spenders. The US has over 700 military bases in over 100 foreign countries. The US spend between $200 and $300 billion a year defending the Persian gulf so oil can be shipped to Europe and Asia. Very little of the oil is shipped to the US. Only Republican Ron Paul wants the US to bring our troops home. He might be wrong about much but he is certainly right about this.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 3:34 AM, lisaop wrote:

    You mentioned the Rockefeller family LOL, they were apart of the economy because they were old European money and interjected the economy for their own gain. Now they are apart of dismantling this economy and the country for the corporations and their infamous NEW WORLD ORDER they are implementing right as we speak as they pay off the politicians and the media is their paid off mouth piece and because of the new controlled media, Americans are as sheep and are being silently taken over by the stealth communists and fascists as the Rockefeller family. Youtube endgame and start there, that's the plan of the elites of the world for America and the world. Let's hope Motley Fool isn't a controlled mouthpiece for these communist / fascists seeking to destroy America.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:06 PM, arsone4179 wrote:

    The reason people are giving up is because they have come to the realization they are going and will continue to go nowhere because of the attitude of the US government towards big business. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. So why should they put in all that time and energy into work if they are just going to be poor for the rest of their life? Do what you want when you want and have the government pick up the tab. Thats what wellfare and unemployment are for

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