More than half of Americans are flat broke.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four needs an income of at least $60,000 dollars a year to reach a “adequate but modest living standard.” But, fifty percent of all Americans make less than half that amount.

Paul Buchheit over at Alternet reports that new Social Security Administration data shows that one out of every two Americans is living in – or damn near close – to flat out poverty.

Half of all Americans have no savings at all, and nearly three out of four people who have saved have less than $1,000 dollars on hand to cover emergency expenses. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than 60 percent of our fellow Americans couldn't afford to repair their car if it needed a brake job.

Many on the Right claim that earning more is all about working harder, and that those who struggle simply haven't pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. But, the fact of the matter is that there aren't enough bootstraps to go around.

According to the Alliance for a Just Society, there are seven job applicants for every job opening that pays more than $15 dollars an hour. And, for those who take a job paying less, it's almost impossible to make ends meet – even with two people working full time in one household.

There simply aren't enough good-paying jobs to go around, and Republicans in Congress refuse to raise wages or invest in the type of education and infrastructure that could make those jobs available.

The middle class has been destroyed by the billionaires, and more Americans fall out of that category every day. In other words, for many people in our country, the American Dream has become the American nightmare.

This is not the country our grandparents worked to create. And, this is not the country that we should leave our grandchildren. We can do better.

In this election cycle, we must fight harder than ever to elect those who will fight for us. We need lawmakers who want to restore the middle class and rebuild the American Dream.

Democracy begins with each of us, so let's get busy. Tag you're it!


Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 7 years 13 weeks ago

"Many on the Right claim that earning more is all about working harder, and that those who struggle simply haven't pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. But, the fact of the matter is that there aren't enough bootstraps to go around." TH

Sure there are. But for the past 7 going on 8 years of total and complete failure of the Obama admin, it is little wonder why folks like Thom think this way. Remember, it was Obama who said this was the new norm. But what can you expect from a man who was no more than a community organizer.

The greatest thing we can do for our economic woes is to elect a POTUS who knows how to run a business and economy. Someone who knows where the problems are and has the where-with-all to correct them. In other words, a real leader. If you want to get this economy going again, let's elect someone who is beholden to noone. And I don't mean HRC.

Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 7 years 13 weeks ago

"There simply aren't enough good-paying jobs to go around..." TH

There could be if Obama would unleash and unshackle the American people and businesses from onerus rules and regulations.

The auto bailouts were touted by the Obama admin as a great success. They weren't. But what has been a boom for the auto industry has been cheap gas prices. Thanks to fracking, the US produces much of its own energy. Auto sales, including trucks and SUV's are flying out of dealerships. Good jobs are being supported by low gas prices. Get it?

Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 7 years 13 weeks ago

"The middle class has been destroyed by the billionaires..." TH

No, the middle class is being destroyed by an incompetent Obama admin.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 13 weeks ago

If you raise the minimum wage to the point where no one feels it necessary to work a second job, those jobs can be freed up for the unemployed and underemployed. If anyone's looking for a natural happy medium (rather than snidely creating a strawman of $100,000 per year), I'd say that's it.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 13 weeks ago

Deca^6, you think Obama didn't have to lead people as a community organizer, and that he could do that job and not see where the problems are? That job was all about solving real people's problems, as opposed to a Fortune 500 CEO solving his own problem of having too few mansions.

cccccttttt 7 years 13 weeks ago

US needs to give all immigration a rest, create a secure national identity card, and bring back the WPA.

There are many workers over 40 who will never be able to compete in the job market.

But they have skills they could offer to enrich life in their community.

Do away with welfare as giving money to people causes hard feelings in regular workers.

But a WPA is impossible until we get a handle on illegals.


mmuoio's picture
mmuoio 7 years 13 weeks ago

Indeed and most of the higher income wealth was given to the rich with zero interest for 6+ years causing yet again another asset bubble which has only now begun to unwind...and look out below as we all endure yet again more of a very viscious downward spiral and pension managers will be unable to make good on the promises. We essentially are f**ked as a nation and it is a very sad outcome for such great opportunity screwed by the malodorous fascist corporatists. Very sad indeed. A real political/economic revolution is due as what we have simply is not working...we need a reset.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 13 weeks ago

Reply to #1, #2 & #3: Kilo, running a country is NOT like running a business. Therefore a businessman or businesswoman for president is the LAST thing we need. And no, more deregulation is not the answer. Deregulation is a major factor behind our current crisis, and now you want more?! Gimmie a break. And you’re supporting fracking?! Fracking poisons people’s drinking water and causes earthquakes. (HELLO.) And you’re defending the billionaire Welfare Queens, while blaming Obama for destroying the middle class?! Brilliant. Of course it would have to follow that in Kilo’s realm of reality the policies of the George W. Bush Administration were just swell for the middle class. Way to go, Kilo! But don’t stop there. For our entertainment, how about explaining your logic a bit further? How were the Bush Administrations policies so great for the middle class as opposed to the current administration? Are you going to claim that the middle class was in great shape after eight years under Bush?!!!! HaHaHaHaHa. If Obama succeeds in ramming through the TPP, however, I supposed a more viable case could be made for Obama destroying the middle class. But until then, no way. Obama inherited this mess; he didn't create it. Anyone who claims otherwise has got a mighty short memory.

In post #5 Mathboy points out that the job of a community organizer gives one a good look at where the problems lie “as opposed to a Fortune 500 CEO solving his own problem of having too few mansions.” Bull's eye, mathboy!

I just had a not-so-friendly little debate on YouTube with some idiot who claims that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would wipe out small businesses and hurt low-wage workers. The HELL it would. I did a google search and here's what I found. According to Economic Roundtable: “Over 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, signed a statement stating that federal and state minimum wage increases can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed.’” Far as I’m concerned, that ought to resolve the matter. But just as conservatives like denying science, they are also fond of pooh-pooing economic reality. But what else can we expect from an ideology built on arrogance and stupidity? This plutocrat's paradise is built entirely on fantasy.

John_mulkins123's picture
John_mulkins123 7 years 13 weeks ago

"Democracy begins with each of us, so let's get busy. Tag you're it!"

Americans do not seem to believe in their own power, or they would use it.

PaulHosse's picture
PaulHosse 7 years 13 weeks ago

I agree with John_mulkins123, but I think the corporate media and the powers that be have convinced Americans that they have no power. Recent reports, studies, and statistics confirm that Washington---regardless of political party---could care less about what we want or what we think (in fact, Princeton just concluded a 20 year study to that effect and of course, we all know, thanks to another study by two top universities, we are now an oligarchy---just as we all suspected all along).

Thanks to gerrymandering and Citizens United, they risk very little by ignoring us. Obama is as beholding to the corporate oligarchs as any Republican. Yes, if enough of us come together and unite behind a particular congressional or presidential candidate, we might pull an upset. But the system is rigged to prevent any serious reformer from actually accomplishing anything. Simply put, the system is broken beyond repair, so the real question is what do we do about it?

Al Alpert's picture
Al Alpert 7 years 13 weeks ago

I will tell you what to do about the problems of the American people. VOTE

I sugest that we vote our wants. The only candidate who represents what I want for myself and and my heirs is Mr. Bernie Sanders, so he has my VOTE, enough said !!!

Jussmartenuf's picture
Jussmartenuf 7 years 13 weeks ago

Astounding that the average Republican thinks the government is their enemy. What a con job the largest special interest group in the country has done. They have taken the entire focus off of themselves and have people voting for them. By largest special interest group i mean Wall Street and the entire financial industry. Billionaires buying the government for their benifit by getting uninformed people to not focus on the problem which are the billionaires that ship our jobs overseas and cry that they pay too much in taxes when they do not begin to pay their fair share.

Astounding propaganda machine, run by the billionaires of the media, and that not only includes FOX but NBC and all of them. They do not want Bernie president as they are making billions off the money pouring from the political parties.

Time for a revolution, time to elect an honest man from our own ranks, Bernie Sanders.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 13 weeks ago

Reply to #10: What do we do about it? A good place to start would be to vote every neo-con occupying a congressional seat -- (corporate Democrats as well as Republicons) -- out of office. AND elect Bernie Sanders for president.

The system is not broken beyond repair. I think that's a self defeating conclusion. It can be un-broken with the right people steering the boat. We have to get off our complacent butts and fight these toxic clowns, before they destroy more people's lives let alone every basic principle this country was supposedly founded on.

The greatest weapon we have is our numbers (99%!), and our votes. This is why Republicans have been trying so hard to keep us from voting (i.e. gerrymandering, caging; unwarranted, illegal, race-based voter purges, voter ID laws, inconvenient voting times, the revoking of legislation that protects voters' rights, rigged voting machines, etc. etc.) So if you're tempted to believe your vote doesn't matter, comrades, think again. If it didn't matter, they wouldn't be going to such desperate lengths to obstruct and sabotage voters. Like Thom says, they've got nothing to sell us, nothing to offer and no solutions to the problems that plague us en masse... why else would they go to such lengths to make it difficult or impossible for us to vote, while distracting the more gullible majority with wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion ad nauseam? People need to wake up!

With those obstructionist goddam clowns occupying the House and Senate, what we're getting is taxation without representation. Bernie Sanders is presenting us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get at the heart of this problem -- oligarchy -- and start turning this shit around. Once we've taken back our government so that it serves us, these problems will dissipate like the proverbial fart in a windstorm. But we've got to fight for it. Nobody's handing it to us on a platter.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 13 weeks ago

Reply to #12: jussmartenuf, here's at least some grounds for hope: In this conservative little southern Oregon coastal town where I live, I've spoken with working class Republicans who are voting for Bernie Sanders. I think at least some of our compatriots are waking up. Let's pray enough people have snapped out of their corporate media-induced hypnosis to vote for real change, so we can get these parasites off our backs and get on with life.

jr71749's picture
jr71749 7 years 13 weeks ago

The American economy is in a stage known as "Post industrialist," that means we have stopped making things, we have allowed "business men and women (can't leave out Fiorina) to cut deals with foreign countries to make things that our factories used to make ( it's called "the Art of the Deal"). It was not Obama nor the Democratic Party that allowed this to happen, Nancy Pelosi tried to stop the exodus of American jobs a few years ago but Republicans in the senate blocked the bill. The only way our old jobs will come back is if you agree to work for less money than a Chinese peasant. For our economy to once again have the strength to be the economic engine for the planet we need to create new industries that can't be shipped to third world and communist nations( that's right our business people made deals with communists that hurt our country, real patriots). When you elect business people as leaders you tend to get policies that always try to elimenate cost and overhead which is people. Remember the marriage of government and business is called fascism.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 13 weeks ago

We need a revolt along historically tested and proven lines

The only problem is finding a zealous and / or passionate leader

We're all talking... only!!!

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 13 weeks ago

The revolt will come...the seeds have been planted; it's just a question of when...will it happen soon enough to prevent extreme violence and loss of life, or will it be delayed until blood must be spilled and no one really knows who the real enemy is (the French Revolution).

Let us hope it is soon.

John_mulkins123's picture
John_mulkins123 7 years 13 weeks ago

Thanks, Paul :) The system is broken. We, you and I and everyone here, need to organize a referendum process, or citizens assembly, which can manage a non-partisan election on the national level, giving citizens the right to create laws and amendments. Think direct democracy, managed by citizens.

I hope you'll use the site I've pointed to, join the process, VOTE, and share the idea with many more. We need to improve our political system. Let's get to work!

dianhow 7 years 13 weeks ago

The Reality is US financial woes started many many years before Obama . Reaganomics, trickle down , raiding the SS Lock Box, deregulation, 1986 total amnesty, Bush Cheney's COMPLETE FAILURE 2000 - 2008 deep global crash, massive UN funded debt, loss of multi millions of jobs, 1000's maimed & killed ... trillions down the drain in long failed wars, which helped create ISIS . Many millions like me & my husband worked hard, saved...then my husband 's pension was trashed from 30 K a year down to $658.00 a month.. Thats after working 10 hour days for 30 + years . Working up to plant Supt , then the plant closed down , everything we worked for was gone. I worked too. We raised our kids, lived simply. Now a widow I am barely making it. I have been a caretaker as well.. Thats the UGLY TRUTH for millions of hard working families.

jproctor67's picture
jproctor67 7 years 13 weeks ago

For the three idiots #1, #2, & #3 you are so stupid to believe the hardships in the middle class Americans was caused by President Obama,,when he came into office the country was in a fatal tailspin because of the policies and things that Dubya/Cheney did in the eight years he was in office. Teo Deadly, Needless, & Unfunded Wars where 50K plus American Troops lost their lives, and the hundreds of thousands that were severely wounded and will depend on the VA for medical care and compensation for their needless wounds. Starting in 2008 during Dubya/Cheney's rhein over 800,000 people a month were losing their job, the housing market was in collaspe, the banking and wall street was collasping, 401K's were loosing so much money that many people almost lost everything. Dubya/Cheney put a hundred trillion dollar or so package together to save wall street, banking, and insurance gaints their owners, how much of that money was ever repaid. The packages Obama put together to save the auto industry and other failing companies has been repaid and they are all doing very good now. If the Tealiban Bagger Terrorist Controlled Republicans hadn't blocked ever jobs bill and inforstructure packages America would be recovering at a much faster pace, and despite their blocking everything America still recovered and is gaining speed every month, positive jobs growth for every month for the past 7 plus years starting in the summer of 2009. I know the truth really sucks for your kind but it is there like it or not.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 13 weeks ago

Reply to #15 & #20: jr, I agree with much of what you’ve said here. But your claim the Democratic Party wasn’t culpible in the mass exodus of U.S. manufacturing has me scratching my head. Yes Obama inherited a huge mess left by Reagan, Bush #1, Clinton and Bush #2… BUT he is pushing the TPP, which would make an already grim situation much, much worse. Democrats can hardly be described as innocent bystanders throughout this ugly freak show. You ignore the TPP at your own peril.

Dianhow, your story (post #19) is heartbreaking. And I’m not being sarcastic this time. People in situations like you describe are victims of systematic abuse. This shit has GOT to stop and Bernie’s the only candidate who will fight for us, once elected.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 13 weeks ago

The truth is global warming has chased away millions of American jobs. It is way too hard to to start up factories under the strict environmental rules we have here. It's much more profitable to send the jobs over seas where there is no rules. I know I live in Alberta Canada where the oil for Keystone pipeline would of come from. Obama cancelling Keystone cost us billions and 10's of thousands of good paying union jobs. Yet the oil is tanked in every day from Venusuala and Nigeria with apparently no worries at all. No one in their right minds would even think about starting a factory under the current rules here. The carbon foot print is the same probably higher but the pay checks are not handed out in our countries. We need to clean up the planet but we also have to understand our standard of living is going to drop significantly.

John_mulkins123's picture
John_mulkins123 7 years 13 weeks ago

Currently, we all depend on a broken system of "representative democracy". We give our power away to someone else every time we vote. It remarkable really. When we exercise our power over government peacefully to govern collectively, I believe the majority will govern wisely and with compassion. How can that happen?

Currently, there is no mechanism for a national vote. I would argue because the framers wanted to retain power in a strong central government, which would protect property owners. There are other reasons.

The crisis of governance is our own making. We have become dependent on a system which no longer represents us, thereby avoiding the more difficult work of improving our political system together. We citizens need to upgrade our operating system.

Technology makes communication pretty easy. You and I can collaborate whereas that would have been nearly impossible a few decades ago. We should not dismiss this development lightly.

The revolution will begin when you and I, our friends and family, the majority of citizens, participate in the process of building a better political system. When you see what that requires, I hope you will be encouraged to get involved. Now is the time.

thanks for the dialog.


Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 13 weeks ago

Sorry! Please Kend can you reason your assertion that global warming has chased away millions of american jobs?

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 13 weeks ago

Hep. A perfect example is Keystone, the Alberta "oil sands" 70 % of Americans, congress and the senate would rather have Canadian oil then oil from Venusuala but because of political pressure not logic Obama said no. There has been 30,000 lay offs in the oil industry in Alberta. These people are not working at Walmart or McDonalds they are engineers, geologist and highly paid service workers. For those of you who say who cares they are Canadian, these are mostly American owned Companies and there is over 100,000 Americans working in Alberta in the energy industry. Not to mention the billions of dollars of cancelled projects, Shell alone cancelled one that is two billion dollars. It is all welders, electricians, etc. All high paying Union jobs not just to build it but yo maintain it. And what about the pipeline, look at all of the jobs gone from that. Now factor in our new carbon taxes, or cap and trade other countries don't have. How do we compete with them with one hand tied beside our back. I could go on for ever. Look at the steel, coal,and earth metal industries. The are almost extinct. If you believe in global warming then you know these things must be done. But then do not complain that our standard of living is falling. What do you expect.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 13 weeks ago

Kend! No disrespect! Worked in O&G for decades and was laid off recently because of oil price going south big time... is Brent Crude now something like USD 35? This from about USD 110 ~16 months ago

Keystone Phase 4 was cancelled (???) by the Obama Administration for political reasons surrounding ""climate change fears""

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 13 weeks ago

Hep because of the dollar exchange we are over $50.00 / barrel CAN. Penalty of money for us. My point is it took seven years just for the government to say no on Keystone. What company would be willing to go through that, when the can go overseas and get a permit in a week. That goes for all industry, not just the energy sector. I am just saying there is a price to pay for going green. Most people think it's worth it. I am sure they are right, but don't bitch when you have no well paying jobs from resource based business. You chased them away.

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