Low-wage workers struggle to find middle-pay jobs

Many of the next-tier positions no longer exist, which helps widen the gap between the richest Americans and the rest of the country
Associated Press
Mar 13, 2014


For years, many Americans followed a simple career path: Land an entry-level job. Accept a modest wage. Gain skills. Leave eventually for a better-paying job.

The workers benefited, and so did lower-wage retailers such as Wal-Mart: When its staffers left for better-paying jobs, they could spend more at its stores. And the U.S. economy gained, too, because more consumer spending fueled growth.

Not so much anymore. Since the Great Recession began in 2007, that path has narrowed because many of the next-tier jobs no longer exist. That means more lower-wage workers have to stay put. The resulting bottleneck is helping widen a gap between the richest Americans and everyone else.

"Some people took those jobs because they were the only ones available and haven't been able to figure out how to move out of that," Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press.

If Wal-Mart employees "can go to another company and another job and make more money and develop, they'll be better," Simon explained. "It'll be better for the economy. It'll be better for us as a business, to be quite honest, because they'll continue to advance in their economic life."

Yet for now, the lower-wage jobs once seen as stepping stones are increasingly being held for longer periods by older, better-educated, more experienced workers.

The trend extends well beyond Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer, and is reverberating across the U.S. economy. It's partly why average inflation-adjusted income has declined 9 percent for the bottom 40 percent of households since 2007, even as the top 5 percent have fully recovered from the recession that began late that year, according to the Census Bureau.

Research shows that occupations that once helped elevate people from the minimum wage into the middle class have disappeared during the past three recessions dating to 1991.

One such category includes bookkeepers and executive secretaries, with average wages of $16.54 an hour, according to the Labor Department. Since the mid-1980s, the economy has shed these middle-income jobs — a trend that's become more pronounced with the recoveries that have followed each subsequent recession, according to research by Henry Siu, an economist at the University of British Columbia, and Duke University economist Nir Jaimovich.

That leaves many workers remaining in jobs as cashiers earning an average of $9.79 an hour, or in retail sales at roughly $10.50 — jobs that used to be entry points to higher-paying work. Hourly pay at Wal-Mart averages $8.90, according to the site Glassdoor.com. Since the Great Recession, the share of U.S workers employed by the retail and restaurant sector has risen from 16.5 percent to 17.1 percent.

"It really has contributed to this widening of inequality," Siu said.

The shift has injected new pressures into the economy. Older and better-educated retail and fast food workers have become more vocal in pressing for raises. Labor unions helped launch protests last year against such employers as Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Burger King.

Fewer teenagers are staffing cash registers, prepping meals or stocking shelves, according to government data. Replacing them are adults, many of whom are struggling with the burdens of college debt or child rearing. Some are on the verge of what was once envisioned as retirement years.

They are people like Richard Wilson, 27, in Chicago. More than 2½ years ago, a Wal-Mart store manager spotted Wilson cleaning the cafeteria at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

A double major in biblical studies and business communications, Wilson had $3,000 in tuition due and had maxed out on student loans. He said the recruiter suggested that a management job could eventually be within reach for him because, "Wal-Mart is where people's dreams become a reality."

Wilson first worked at a Wal-Mart near college before returning to his Chicago hometown without a degree but with $50,000 in student debt and another job at a boutique Wal-Mart specializing in groceries.

Today, Wilson earns $9.45 an hour at that Wal-Mart and lives on the city's western edge with his grandmother. He boards a bus most mornings at 3:30 a.m. and arrives for his 5 a.m. shift in the more upscale neighborhood of Lakeview East. He has applied for promotions. So far, no success.

If he had the money for a ring and a wedding, Wilson said he would propose to his girlfriend.

Last year, 17.4 million Americans between ages 25 and 64 earned less than $10.10 an hour, the minimum wage proposed by President Barack Obama (The current federal minimum is $7.25.) That's equal to an income of nearly $19,000 for a full-time employee — less than half the median pay of a U.S. worker.

The share of Americans in their prime earning years who earn the equivalent of $10.10 an hour or less, adjusted for inflation, has risen to 13.4 percent from 10.4 percent in 1979, according to government data analyzed by John Schmitt, a senior economist at the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Nearly a third of low-wage employees last year had had some college education. An additional 10 percent had graduated. By contrast, in 1979 less than 25 percent of low-wage employees had college experience. Most had not completed high school. For millions of lower-wage workers, more schooling hasn't led to higher pay.

"Where you start out in terms of wages helps to predict where you move over time," Schmitt said.

That principle has become an alarming reality for many. Only 5.5 percent of people with jobs at the fast food chain Wendy's will earn more than $70,000 in today's dollars at that company, based on a review last year of 8 million resumes by the analytics firm Bright.com.

Just 8 percent of Home Depot employees will be so fortunate. For Macy's, 9.4 percent. By contrast, more than a quarter of Amazon staffers will exceed $70,000 a year. The ratio is even better for Verizon and AT&T workers. A majority of Ford employees will achieve that income at least once in their career. Just 10 percent of Wal-Mart workers will.

Wal-Mart promotes itself as a source of opportunity, and in some cases, that's proved true. Over 11 years, for example, Tonya Jones rose from staffing a checkout line to managing a section of a Wal-Mart supercenter in Hendersonville, Tenn. Jones, 41, said her pay exceeds $15 an hour — enough with scholarships, including one from Wal-Mart, to help put her daughter through college.

Asked whether she represents an average Wal-Mart worker, Jones said opportunities at the company boil down to personal choices.

"I want to be No. 1," she said. "I am very competitive."

That said, the data show why it's harder now for workers to rise into higher-paying fields despite an economic recovery now nearly 5 years old. About 1.9 million office and administrative support jobs were lost to the Great Recession, according to government data. That includes 714,370 executive secretaries with annual incomes averaging $50,220. And 252,240 fewer bookkeepers with average incomes of $36,640.

By comparison, the number of lower-wage jobs increased: The Labor Department says restaurants added 777,800 jobs since the recession began, general merchandise stores 345,600.

"You see adults moving into these relatively generic services (jobs) that don't require expertise, just dexterity, attention and showing up," said MIT economist David Autor. "You want people to be in jobs that have good trajectories. I can imagine you only get so efficient as a checkout clerk or a stocker."

Wal-Mart customer service manager Janet Sparks of Baker, La., trained as a bookkeeper. She owned a video rental store and worked for an accountant, a nuclear power plant, a McDonald's and a bank before joining Wal-Mart about eight years ago.

Sparks, 53, said Wal-Mart once offered a path to the middle class with merit raises of up to $2 an hour. The company ended those raises, while making more employees eligible for bonuses based on a store's overall performance. It also introduced what's called "optimal scheduling" to match employees with expected sales. It can mean that workers whose shift ended at 11 p.m. might have to begin their next shift at 7 a.m., Sparks said.

Sparks said the erratic schedule makes it hard for employees to earn additional income from a second job. She joined Wal-Mart in 2005 with the expectation that the since-cancelled merit pay raises would eventually let her clear $21 an hour. She instead received smaller raises and now earns $12.40.

Wal-Mart said it began to change its bonus system in 2006. It now pays bonuses of up to $2,500 to some employees based on their store's performance.

And it says its scheduling system considers the preferences and availability of employees and gives them three weeks' notice of their work calendars.

Other retailers have also adopted optimal scheduling. Starbucks was sued by a former employee over its system, according to Massachusetts court records. Starbucks said on its corporate site that the "goal" of optimal scheduling "was to provide the most working hours to those partners who were available to do so."

Retail industry executives argue that stronger economic growth would make it possible to pay higher wages. The economy grew just 1.9 percent last year, well below its post-World War II average of 3.2 percent.

"For generations of Americans, it was an entry-level wage that got you into a position in which you could gain skills and experience and then get connected to the workforce and move up," said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation. "The problem now is the economy is not growing rapidly enough to create those other opportunities."

Simon's suggestion that many Wal-Mart employees might be better off leaving for other jobs surprised Wal-Mart cashier Joanna Lopez. A 26-year-old single mother, she owns no car and lives with her church pastor near Fremont, Calif. She collects food stamps and receives insurance through California's version of Medicaid.

Lopez started at Wal-Mart as a temp in August 2011, after being unable to land a hospital job with her associate's degree. Her pay has risen from $8 an hour to $9.20, after she moved from part time to full time. The suggestion by a Wal-Mart executive that some employees might be staying too long offended her.

"To me, that's an utter humiliation," Lopez said. "How can you sit there and have management say that we should find other jobs because this place is 'no bueno?'"

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Katie Cody said that its employees have "endless opportunities for advancement" and that "management is not saying that people should find other jobs."

"But when the economy is doing well, people tend to move around more," Cody said. "If people were moving around more, that would be a better indicator that the economy is doing well, which is good for our customers, our associates and our business."



Plenty of jobs in china.
Let them eat rice cake!
Send them to china.
Better for tne shareholders.

Really are you ...

No frigging way! Nobody saw the division of classes coming. We have a rock solid middle class that pays taxes and supports government spending.


"The problem now is the economy is not growing rapidly enough to create those other opportunities."

The individual and business marginal federal income tax rate should be: 0%.

Government cannot create jobs and the U.S. is proving it through the use of a combination of high taxes and onerous regulations.

Why does U.S. industry expand overseas? More favorable taxes and fairer regulations.

Jobs in the West TX oil fields can pay $50K, $100K and more annually.

But few of the youth who b*tch and complain about a perceived lack of good paying jobs would be willing to go after them.


Because it's hard work.

Pterocarya frax...

Winnie says: "Government cannot create jobs and the U.S. is proving it through the use of a combination of high taxes and onerous regulations."

Kasich, along with his beloved JobsOhio, has proven this correct.

Winnie says: "Why does U.S. industry expand overseas? More favorable taxes and fairer regulations."

Wrong. They move production there for cheap labor.

Does it ever get tiring spewing the lies from your corporate puppetmasters about 0% taxation rates? It must pay really well.

From the Grave

I don't think it's even cheap labor, because employees are also consumers. I think that OSHA and the EPA have made it impossible to compete with China, where they don't care(for now).


Re: "They move production,"

Wrong: To be closer to foreign mkts.

Approx. 55% of consumer markets are outside the U.S.

Can't export everything, Sport. Our labor costs are uncompetitive in the developing countries.

Other than b*tchin', what's YOUR answer?


Are you kidding Winnie? Nobody bit-hes more than you!


Ah, yes. The old Republican Lie: all poor people are poor because they are lazy, and want to be poor. As if they can magically transport themselves and their families to Texas. They don't have enough money to feed their family today, don't own a car because they can't afford one, but somehow would magically transport themselves to Texas, where a magic apartment with 2 months rent/deposits would appear for them to live in.

The reality: for every lazy person scamming the system, there are many more who DO work fulltime and STILL need foodstamps to get by. And, of course, you're also ignoring the fact that there are 3 job openings for every unemployed American. Does anyone actually believe that if all the unemployed went to Texas, there would be a job for them? There are more than 3 million unemployed, so I'm calling B.S.

Why does U.S. industry expand overseas? Often because there are far fewer regulations overseas, and because labor is so cheap there. It costs money to properly dispose of toxic waste in America. You can pay Laotian workers 25 cents an hour to make tennis shoes.

Contango is just like Fox News. He tells half the story and pretends the other half doesn't exist.


Re: "transport themselves and their families to Texas."

I wrote: "youth."

Besides, have you ever heard of working and sending money back home?

Seems like the illegal Mexes were doin' a lot of that.

Yea, better to just b*tch and moan and wait for the socialist-progressives to legislate the Land of Cockaigne into existence. lol

Other than b*tchin' at me, what's YOUR answer?

Rhetorical question, 'cause I already know:



We already know his answer, let's put 'em all on the government dole and pay 'em to sit home, watch TV and stuff Cheetos in their mouth all day. The problem seems to be that non-skilled labor can't move up. The word non-skilled should give it away. There are jobs available above where they are at but they require training and education to achieve. With all the government programs available now to help these low wage workers find better opportunity, the only excuses for not being able to move up laziness, and let's face it some people just don't have what it takes to move up. I suppose we need to continue subsidizing them forever?

Peninsula Pundit

Well, you live up to your moniker here.
Things are always so black and white in your world.
You moan about govt programs, then promote them.
Again, the vast majority are people want to work, yet you say that anyone who doesn't have a job is lazy.
Day after day, post after post, the same old tired drivel.
What purpose does your posts serve?
They aren't comments, they aren't discussion, they're just the same ol',same ol'.
In other words,sadly, we already know what your answers are,as well.
And largely, that's your own fault.
The jack-in-the-box always plays the same tune, no matter how many times you twist the crank.

Darwin's choice

You must be talking of your brother coasterfan.


Maybe you should lay off the Boone's. Apparently you glossed over the part where I said they may not possess the appropriate skills to move up. Sadly the liberal mantra is to continue to throw other peoples money at the problem through welfare when the statistics show that since war on poverty began there is more poverty than ever. So keep up the babbling, instead of putting forth a new idea attack someone for making a comment. Fact is you are no different than coasternut, you want to keep putting forth the same tired ideas that haven't worked in decades, hoping that they may actually work now. Oh Boy, you are too much.

Peninsula Pundit

No fair. I was the one who posted you and your buddy here are the ones putting out the same old,same old. Your reply? 'You, too!'
'throw other peoples money' etc
Just keep turning that crank, maybe the box will play a different tune.
Face it, what you guys consider your 'considered thoughts' are nothing more than regurgitations of comments you hear on TV and radio.


Uh... I think my point was that YOU are the one doing the b*tching and moaning.

My answer is to support the jobs initiatives that Obama has proposed for the past 5 years. Unfortunately, Republicans can't see past their hatred of Obama to actually vote in favor of anything that would create jobs. And they also continually vote to reduce funding to help the poor, while voting against minimum wage increases.

My answer is to encourage people to vote Democrat, since they are the only party that actually DOES something to help the poor and middle class.


Obamas job initiatives involve paying people with tax dollars. So, just exactly how does this help? Those tax dollars were already allocated for something else. So the gov't must either raise taxes or borrow more from China, Japan, Germany etc. Either way it is a dud.

Also, I don't think most people have a problem with people receiving food stamps and gov't assistance if they are working full time and just need a little help.


Re: "My answer is to support the jobs initiatives that Obama has proposed for the past 5 years."

Let's go back to the old, tired govt. make-work programs of FDR? :)

Remember what Pres. Obama said after $1T:

"Sh..shovel-ready was not as...ah...shovel-ready as we expected."

Yea, let's borrow, print, tax and spend some more and increase the fed debt. lol

Really are you ...

Well since the upper level government seems to think we are brain dead. The US citizen can not think, so let's tell the citizen what is good for them. How well are those highly educated officials doing? The highly educated government official textbook quality answers are running this country into the ground. Making rules and regulations to fix the poorly made rules and regulations from years past. It is like lying to cover up a previous lie. It is only going to get worse. The government needs to get rid of what isn't and keep what is in the best interest of The United States. I will say again "the best interest of the United States," not some congressman personal agenda. The United States includes every US citizen, so our best interests also.

One problem at a time. This device I am working on will give big oil and NERC real competition. Gasoline and diesel will not remain the main source of moving our automobiles. NERC won't have to drop the ball on which type of grid is the best, effecient or effective. For however they place the price per gallon at the pump, and future electrical prices will be put in check.

What is the difference with the beginning of the Preamble to the United States Constitution and what I want to do? "We the People of the United States of America," to "Power to the People." Will it level the playing field?


If this big device you speak of is all you say it is there would be venture capitalists falling over themselves to give you money. Instead you complain that government entities won't throw seed money at you. A simple google search will give you the names of these venture capitalists. Pitch your idea to them. If you have and they haven't given you any seed money then either they don't think your invention will be profitable, or you weren't able to get your idea across to them in a manner that would convince them you are worth the risk.


Excellent advice!

Really are you ...

With a VC firm they will have control of my company, limited control but still will have some control. Then they will want it on the stock market, I will have no say, and off to China, maybe Mexico, goes the new business I once created.


Ug!! Seriously tired of the Wal-Mart bashing!! They start out more than the other retailers!!!!! If you want more then min. Wage then earn it!!!! Have good work ethics, SHOW UP FOR WORK, get an education!!!!!!!! Any of those things will help people earn more. Pay all depends on your skill level. There are people that work there that make over 20 an hour...because they work hard developed skills and are dependable!!!!! Ug!


WalMart: the largest employer of Ohioans who are also on food stamps. These are people who work fulltime, but pay is so low that they need government assistance to get by.

WalMart: the top 6 heirs of the family business earn as much as the bottom 42% of Americans.

Fact: Since 1980, worker productivity in America has increased 90%, but wages have only increased 8%. Guess who ends up with all the money?


Re: increased worker productivity

Ya think that maybe automation may have had 'sumpthin' to do with that?

Who pays for the machinery?

"Money"? Where are your retirement assets invested?

Peninsula Pundit

Off topic (snip)


Coasterfan wrote:

"Fact: Since 1980, worker productivity in America has increased 90%,"

Better inform him.

Darwin's choice

Coastertroll, you're pathetic.

Guess that travel agent job must really be working well for you!

How's that obamacare failure today? Obama himself shutting it down?

Why no headline news about the failure?


I'm guessing the reason there is no headline news about an Obamacare failure is because it's not failing. Signup started poorly, but has greatly improved. 940,000 Americans signed up in February, and signup continues to grow and improve each month.

Only in the alternate reality of Republicanism would "improvement" be called a failure.

Darwin's choice

Still full of crap.

Post some proof of your BS lies! I dare you again failure!

Darwin's choice

"Please also provide scientific evidence and/or results from research studies that support your viewpoint."

Peninsula Pundit

There's a lot of pathetic on this board.
and as tango would say:
Off topic (snip)


Look at the average wage for a Walmart employee, it is already higher than your messiah wants to raise minimum wage to. Lefties loath walmart, but walk in there on payday and you will see a store filled with people wearing their union local jackets. As for the answer to who ends up with all the money? Middle class people such as myself that have investments. Take a look at all the evil companies that your retirement plan has so that you can continue to live high off the hog courtesy of the taxpayer. If you don't dump all the stocks in your portfolio of companies who don't pay a living wage, you sir are nothing but a hypocrite.


I'm middle-class and have investments, too. I just also have something you don't have: empathy for people who are working/trying just as hard as you and me, who live in poverty. I don't loath WalMart. Also, I'm realistic with regards to my 401K. I know that I get a nice return, but also know that the investment companies and my Fidelity agent are taking a large chunk of the profit right out of my pocket. So, yes, most of the money - most of OUR money - gets funneled to the top.

So. If WalMart workers (who are on food stamps) are already making more than Obama proposes for minimum wage, why on earth are Republicans STILL dead set against raising the minimum wage? You do know, that if WalMart doesn't pay them enough for working fulltime, you/we/us gets to pay for the foodstamps they need, right?


Re: "to my 401K. I know that I get a nice return,"

How is that not greed?


Like I said, he is a hypocrite. He has empathy but only in so far as someone else's money is being used to pay. If they told him tomorrow that they were cutting his pension in half in order to make things more equal for the poor, he would have a stroke. I'd love to see how much of HIS money goes to charity to help the poor. I'm bettin' not much, most liberals I know are the stingiest people I have met.


Re: "Also, I'm realistic with regards to my 401K. I know that I get a nice return, but also know that the investment companies and my Fidelity agent are taking a large chunk of the profit right out of my pocket. So, yes, most of the money - most of OUR money - gets funneled to the top."

You invest in loaded funds and have an agent do your account? I could understand having an agent starting out and maybe if you trade individual stocks but to use an agent to do mutual funds? You're nuts if you invest in loaded funds, you can trade mutuals with no cost as long as you stay in the same mutual family( Fidelity same as most mutual fund families) it is your own fault. An hour a week is all you need to keep on top of mutual funds. It is your own laziness to pay someone to deal with mutual funds, especially loaded funds, when it takes little time, as I said I can understand it when you just start out but... Most of MY money doesn't get funneled to the top.


Fidelity is privately owned.

If it ever files for an IPO - I'm buying some.

Vanguard; investor owned, with some of the lowest mgmt. fees in the industry.

I'd use the terms: broker, investment advisor or registered representative, 'not' "agent."

Per usual, coaster allows his Marxist ideology to guide his thinking while remaining confidently ignorant.

Really are you ...

An IRA you pay taxes on it when you cash it in. On a Roth IRA you pay taxes on it as you put it in and pay no taxes when you cash it in. How about that Romney IRA, pay no taxes before or after. Here is the catch. It has to be in an offshore account with someone else managing it for you. So when asked about taxes paid on your invested money, you will have someone else to blame if there is a question about taxes.


Re: "Pay no taxes before or after,"

Not possible.

"an offshore account"

Mr. Romney declared any income.

See current and Pres. Obama's pick for Treasury Secy. Jack Lew. He had a Cayman Is. account.



If most of his money gets funneled to the top his advisor is ripping him off and apparently it doesn't bother him.


coasterfan writes: "most of OUR money - gets funneled to the top."

And yet you foolishly continue to invest with them, why?

Do you enjoy being exploited?


We both know it's because either he doesn't have enough sense to play an active role in his own investments or he is just too darn lazy. His financial advisor must of saw him coming. LOL

Darwin's choice

" Please also provide scientific evidence and/or results from research studies that support your viewpoint."


I submit to coasterwhiff that you start your own business at which time you can pay as many of your employees a real living wage.


Um...then get another job!


First of all they would be in category of "largest employer who's employees are on food stamps" because they by far have more employees then anyone else..duh. they r above min. Wage. Are you saying because someone pops 5 kids they cant afford they should make 20 an hour to support their kids? Um..duh again. Its called stop popping kids if you cant afford them and stop living over your means! Simple.


Agree. Winnie needs to run for office. He has all the answers.


Re: "Agree."

Are you burning wood? Whatsamatter, don't you care about global warming kookie? Selfish pdb. lol

The Big Dog's back

Once again contangonut moves the conversation towards what he wants to talk about.


The lack of steeping stone jobs is one reason the double dipping issue among government employees in Ohio should concern all of us.

Baby Boomer bureaucrats in schools, state, and local government positions who made a bunch of money during the boom years; retire and collect their taxpayer funded pensions. Instead of getting out of the way and allowing a younger person to be promoted and bring a fresh perspective to the organization; the public body rehires the "retired" man or woman.

Yes, it's only part (but pretty significant when one totals all government jobs) of the economy but it is bad policy in my opinion.


Thanks for showing how ignorant you are. So glad you moved away.


Re: "ignorant,'

Yes you are you pdb. lol


Something not mentioned here but which is also worthy of note: Plenty of those who are "educated" and yet work in minimum wage jobs is because their education was focused on esoteric or just plain ridiculous "skills." Really, just how much demand IS there out there for someone with a degree in "Women's Studies?" In "Medieval French Literature?" And then you have those degree programs which are past their expiration date since the advent of computers and the software to let the average Joe manage on his own...

I'm betting that competent computer programmers, those who earned good grades in various engineering disciplines, nurses, etc. are finding jobs, while those seeking a college degree in "Liberal Arts" really ought to have a class required for graduation entitled "15 Ways to Ask 'Do You Want Fries With That?'"


So, unless your talents and interests lie in the sciences, you have no hope?
College isn't about gaining "skills", it's about becoming educated. Many companies used to hire college graduates regardless of their major because they wanted well-rounded, educated, bright employees. Now all they care about is paying someone as little as they can. They don't want to train employees anymore, they expect colleges to do that. And they get slave labor by having unpaid internships.


Re: So, unless your talents and interests lie in the sciences, you have no hope?

God, I hope not given the woeful state of science education in the public schools these days! Those were just the first things that came to mind. But possibilities NOT including heavy duty science might be becoming a lawyer or a teacher (pick your discipline here).

Not inclined to ANY kind of real academia? No problem! Be a chef. An auto mechanic. A welder. But you DO need some drive, and you DO need some education in whatever area it is that you choose. Many employers can no longer afford "on-the-job" training. So get some elsewhere!


I guess my point was there are many other areas that college students can major in besides the sciences, and there should be jobs in those areas. We need art and literature and music, etc. Those are the things that make up our humanity. We need people who write, we need historians, we need all different types of people in all different types of jobs to function at our highest level of society.


There aren't many jobs for the average guy in art, literature, and music unless you want to get into advertising (graphic design, copywriting, jingle writing, etc.). For the exceptionally talented, of course, there's always a way to be a painter, a novelist, a concert pianist, or a rock star. But that needs a lot more talent than it does a college degree!

Speaking of the arts: Why do we subsidize those? If you're not good enough to make a living at it, if nobody wants to buy it, then why should you get to do it for a GOVERNMENT paycheck? I like cats, but I don't try to earn a living breeding them! So what do I do? I HAVE a few cats, and I also have a real JOB. Listen up, sports fans: If you can't earn enough doing something to pay your bills, it's called a "hobby!" There's nothing at all wrong with that, but just because you happen to love it doesn't mean it's also your career. If you're lucky (and work hard and are talented), it CAN be, but you've got no right to EXPECT it, nor do you, Informed, have any right to DEMAND it!

The Big Dog's back

Round and round it goes, where the right wingnut mind stops nobody knows.


So, Big Dog, does that mean I can sit at home, watch my cats have kittens, and you'll support me while I do it? That's freaking AWESOME! Can I start tomorrow? (I'll expect my first check from you shortly...)

The Big Dog's back

Check's in the mail.


Why do we subsidize medical research? Technology? Engineering?

And I don't recall demanding everything. I just get tired of people only caring about STEM fields. Yes, those fields are important, but not anymore important than many others. Sorry, but I don't want to live life like a robot. It's bad enough that you can hardly ever talk to a real person on the phone anymore when you call a business.
There are those things that save lives. And then there those things that make lives worth living. Both are important. Even ancient man realized that.
We are losing the very thing that makes us civil and human. Not everyone needs to be a mathematician, or an engineer, or a nurse. It's almost to the point where we need people to teach us how to properly communicate with one another again, how to have healthy relationships with others, how to solve problems and handle conflicts. We need to encourage great thinking of all sorts.


Scientific and technological knowledge grow at an exponential rate but humankind's emotional intelligence and ability to cope remains constant. Thus, in order to function in today's society people have to have STEM skills but a cursory reading of comments herein demonstrate that people's social skills, and emotional health are imperiled.

So I agree with you the arts, parks, music as well as spirituality are important to preserve and promote to bring some meaning to our lives and appreciation of our humanity.


Time Magazine did a cover story in their February 24, 2014 edition entitled "The Diploma that Works: Inside the six year high school." The article details P-Tech Model schools. Students pursue an emphasis on STEM courses and graduate with an associates degree and a job.

The story underscores the facts that most high schools are not preparing students for jobs and too many unqualified people pursue college degrees that really don't lead to employment.


My question: why are we Democrats even engaging in conversation with conservatives about job growth, unemployment or the economy? Over the past 10 years, they have been wrong about nearly everything in those 3 categories. The only thing they have proven they can do is to make things worse. Their arrogance is matched only by their ineptitude.

Do they really expect us to forget that we lost millions of jobs during the Great Recession that was a direct result of their economic policies? Where do they think all the unemployed/underemployed people came from? We lost 7.5 million jobs in America during the Recession. Since then, we've gained 6.5 million of them back under Obama.

Do the math. Since 2007: 7.5 million fewer jobs under Republicans. 6.5 million more jobs under Democrats. No amount of hot air can explain away those numbers, kids....


Re: "Great Recession,"

No economy continues growing exponentially forever.

The boom and bust of credit expansion and the Fed Resv. has been at it again.

"Buffett Calls Fed History’s Greatest Hedge Fund":


Per usual: You're far too focused on politics and not enough on central bank policies.

"Do the math":

Lowest labor force participation rate in over 30 yrs.

Feb. 1979: 63.8

Feb. 2014: 63.0

1979; who was POTUS??


The Big Dog's back

contangonut never answers questions and always changes topics.


Re: "never,"


Do you need to go outside piddles?


So how many more years does Obama have to be in office before liberals quit complaining about income inequality? He has been in office 6 years and 2 of them he had a completely Democrat Congress. In those two years all he managed to do is pass the ACA, a bill that come to find out will now cost the taxpayers over a trillion dollars in the next ten years rather than bring money into the treasury as the Democrats tried to convince the public. Yup, sounds like the Dems are doing great job.

Darwin's choice

" Please also provide scientific evidence and/or results from research studies that support your viewpoint."

Steve P

Highest poverty rate in over 20 years, highest number of people on welfare/food stamps and the lowest median family income at the end of 2013, yet another obzo miracle. Source New York Times, hardly a conservative source.

The Big Dog's back

So when you Cons tanked the country you put a bunch more people in poverty. Are you braggin'?

The Big Dog's back

When you CONS tanked the country the 1st time, Great Depression, you put a bunch of people in poverty then. Are you proud?


Re: "When,"


You REALLY need to go outside don't you lil' piddles?


Steve P you know. "Figures don't lie but liars figure." Wonder what will be said if SSI gets dinged. If things do not change watch out.


Yes obama and the dim controlled Senate, and for his first 2 years had the house alsao and accomplished what? Passed obamaScare and told the repubes that "we won" and then went golfing and spent $900 billion on 'stimulus' that wasn't as 'shovel ready' as he thought it was. Is that the change you were "hoping" for? We don't have to go back to see what this president and congress can do. We do need change and half of that "change" will come in the '14 elections.

Remember when obama said "We are the change we have been waiting for." ?... he lied. It was bush's 3rd and now bush's 4th term. Kept the bad, expanded the bad and made it worse (like extending and expanding the Patriot Act, NDAA, drones, and more)

Steve P

piddle did the seat drop down on you again when you were drinking? The poverty rate, welfare, rate increased under the liar in chief, median household income went down, reading comprehension not you strength, typical far left wackado.

The Big Dog's back

Next thing you right wingnuts will be saying is 9/11 and the Great Recession happened under Obama. Oh wait, you already have.


Here is an article that backs everything Steve P mentioned. If you don't like that is from Forbes simply click on the links provided in the article to see where the data originated.

Median Income

New income data from the Census Bureau reveal what a great job Barack Obama has done for the middle class as President. During his entire tenure in the oval office, median household income has declined by 7.3%.

In January, 2009, the month he entered office, median household income was $54,983. By June, 2012, it had spiraled down to $50,964. That’s a loss of $4,019 per family, the equivalent of losing a little less than one month’s income a year, every year. And on our current course that is only going to get worse not better.



Obama has failed the poor as well as the middle class. Last year, the Census Bureau reported more Americans in poverty than ever before in the more than 50 years that Census has been tracking poverty. Now The Huffington Post reports that the poverty rate is on track to rise to the highest level since 1965, before the War on Poverty began. A July 22 story by Hope Yen reports that when the new poverty rates are released in September, “even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.” But a consensus survey of experts across the political spectrum indicates the poverty rate could soar from the current 15.1% to as high as 15.7%. “Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor,” Hope Yen reports.


Recession and Recovery

Yes, the recession technically ended more than 3 years ago. But the point is that what we are suffering today is the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. And no Obama apologists cannot say that the recovery is so bad because the recession was so bad, because the American historical record is the worse the recession the stronger the recovery, as the American economy has always before snapped back to its world leading economic growth trend line. That even happened after the Great Depression (once Roosevelt was gone). Check out for yourself the historical record of American recessions and recoveries at www.nber.org.


This article is a year and a half old and things have not gotten better, you can look up the facts on your own if you believe otherwise.


And a recent article on the number of folks out of the work force that are under retirement age...


The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What I am about to say isn't a gripe against the possible causes, simply things to consider as we wonder about this "gap".

Technology and advancement are a bit of an ouroboros. We make tools to help us do things easier/better/faster/cheaper. Those new tools help us make even better tools which help us make even better tools. Those same tools also make it so more people can do more tasks that otherwise they couldn't. This is a wedge that will continue to be driven as more jobs become "unskilled" due to the technology in use. Meanwhile the jobs that serve the technology will continue to be in demand and consume the "skill" that was required before on the other end of the device.


Even the President has lamented that ATMs and automatic ticket dispensers at airports are contributing to unemployment.

Increasing litigation/demands against workplaces that offer strenuous or possibly unsafe conditions is a big deterrent in employing people to do a great many jobs that otherwise need doing. This too is a cycle. The more safe and compliant things become the less of a need for the imposing forces to exist, even if the dangerous jobs aren't shed in response to the requirements.

EPA, etc.
The more in terms of quantity and onerous the regulations are that stem behavior, the less of it will be seen. There is no use in lamenting the loss of industry in the U.S. when our laws and regulations all but forbid it. When the EPA wants to regulate roadside ditches by claiming them to be navigable waterways, when the EPA seeks to control every facet of life because a court ruled that CO2 (what we exhale and is intrinsic to our life, plants', and our planet's) is a pollutant, etc. what motivation is there to spend money or invest in any major project?

So where do these three aspects leave us? With many jobs that don't "require" high amounts of skill nor a need to pay a bonus for it being hazardous or especially laborious. Less risk, less reward. It is a constant. I'm not necessarily advocating for the dissolving of the above entities, but if you want to employ more people in (for example) a coal mine just take away the machinery, for one.

You'll need thousands of people to do the same job. The pay goes up because if you drop the safety standards you will need to give them hazard pay (or in a Swiftian way always need new employees...). Drop the environmental regulations and the same mine will continue to grow and need more and more people to work harder and harder.

Seems like a mix for increased pay, but at what cost if not monetarily?

It's funny how we are making ourselves obsolete.

Dr. Information

Brother I tell ya. The liberals on here who think that every person working, works hard, shows up to work…etc, etc, etc. If I could only tell you the countless small business owners I know that say otherwise.

Its really simple. If you do not like your job, its up to YOU to change it. Period.
If you want more money, you need to get a better job, that is up to you. Period.

People have nothing else to blame but themselves. Period.


In Huron County prior to the elections Janesville, CVG, & Norwalk Furniture were on their way out. That helped to push H.C. unemployment up.


For over twenty years, I have written US Congress men and women asking them to STOP foreign aid. Over five years ago, I sent a letter to to the General Accounting Office asking for a list of the previous ten years showing how much foreign aid was sent to which countries, what it was for and who proposed it. Funny, I never recieved an answer.

If we stopped giving away trillions of dollars to other countries
and used a small portion of it to house homeless people and aid Native Americans, the Federal Government would save money and increase jobs at home. Teach the homeless to be security, clean rooms, bookkeeping, maintenance and etc. This may provide a
chance for some to improve their lives.

Before some of you point to Indian run casinos as a cure-all, research how much they pay in state taxes in some states. I lived
in Arizona for 7 years. The governor at that time wanted to take 40% of their profits in taxes. The Indians fought to keep it down very little.

In addition, I have lived in Minnesota for 5 years. We traveled, shopped and ate in the Soiux Indian reservations. I was ashamed of how we have treated these people. They lived in shacks.

If you do not believe me, on your next vacation, drive into the reservations and see for yourselves. Take time and talk to the
Indians, ask them how much help the government has given them
after stealing their land.

I am tired of seeing our brave young service men and women being
cripled and killed fighting wars to "defend" a country who hates
us, has no means of making their own people help defend their own
country, then pleads for billions of dollars to rebuild their countries. Of course our rich politicians can't right checks fast
enough. Put a stop to this damn foreign aid.

Oh by the way, why is it our government is so willing to ship out our soldiers, then turn their backs on them and their families after they are permanently wounded or killed? Someone please explain that to