Everybody is having trouble making ends meet in these tough financial times. Just ask John Fleming. The Republican congressman from Louisiana is crying the blues because he nets some $600,000 on his annual income of $6 million from his business enterprises.

Fleming says that by the time he feeds his family, he only has $400,000 left over. really, how can a guy live on that kind of money?

That’s why Fleming opposes higher taxes on the wealthy, he said in a recent MSNBC interview.

When host Chris Jansing suggested that most Americans (who are making maybe ten percent of his income), might not be very sympathetic to his plight, Fleming replied that "Class warfare never created a job."

Fleming said that increased taxes on business owners will prevent them from growing their operations and from hiring new workers. Okay, I guess that might be right. However, taking that thought a little further, we have not raised those taxes yet, and how many businesses are hiring new workers now, when they do have that extra money that would be paid in taxes?

I’ve owned my own business all of my working life. I am sympathetic to the problems the business community has. However, I think the fact that elected officials like Fleming, who obviously have no concept what life is like for the majority of Americans, are a big part of what is wrong with the country today. How can they relate to the majority of Americans, when they have no idea how we all live? 

Really, Mr. Fleming, it costs you $200,000 to feed your family? Here’s an idea, throw some burgers and brats on the grill, take off your rose colored glasses, pull your head out of your hiney, and take at look at how the rest of us live. A lot of us are saving up for a trip to McDonald’s on Friday night.

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64 Comments on Times Are Tough All Over

  1. Connie Bradih says:

    @ Paul
    I don’t agree with your summation.

    Salaries. I went online to kclibrary.lonestaredu Under their American cultural History Facts about a Decade. For the 1950’s the average salary was $2992. For the 1960’s the average salary was $4743. For the 1970’s the average salary was $7564. For the 1980’s the average salary was $15757, etc. Therefore the average salary for individuals was going UP all those years not down.

    Also you use the term “unethical” investors. I don’t see it’s unethical if an investor picks a company to invest in because it is making good profits. Such an investor is in fact a “good” investor who is seeking to increase his own worth by good investments.

    You also use the term “criminal creators.” What is criminal for a person to create a business that employees people? I instead applaud all the small and large business owners who employee people and pay them salaries. In fact most people are employed by small businesses. We need MORE not less of these creators.

    In my opinion what happened in the last part of the 1900’s is that unions drove up salaries. Instead of keeping a balance between union and owners, the unions got too powerful. Eventually owners neither wanted nor needed such high price workers. They either moved their business out of the country or when the workers went on strike did not negotiate with the unions and brought in non union workers. The East Coast Railroad hired non union employees when the workers went on strike. There are no more cabooses on trains because the unions were “featherbedding.” The workers on strike NEVER got their jobs back. Too many workers for the jobs with too high priced salaries. And who got hurt? The employees not the union which just turned to other industries nor did the employer get hurt. They just hired newer less costly employees.

    I believe in unions just as I believe in employer rights. What is needed is a BALANCE between the 2 for the system to work and continue to work.

  2. Paul Stough says:

    @Connie-Average salaries may have gone up in those years, but that doesnt mean everyone’s salary went up. Another factor is the adjustment for inflation.

    Here is my personal example. When I retired from working for the USPS in 2005, I took my starting wage in 1977 adjusted in for inflation from the government’s website and despite getting almost 100 raises in my 28 1/2 years of service, when adjusted for inflation, I gained only about $1.00 per hour in real wages.

    As far as “criminal creators” goes. Their success was based primarily on their violating laws, not a whole lot different than drug dealers.

    The “unethical investors” knew or should have known that these businesses were violating laws as a means to their success, and only an unethical person would participate in such a scheme, about the same as providing front money for a drug dealer.

    The reason union wages seemed high in the late 1900s was because of all the businesses that had violated laws by hiring illegal aliens which created an artificial over supply of labor, which then drove down wages for millions of Americans and legal aliens to the point where we are now, where we are quickly moving to a situation not unlike the days of slavery in the Old South, except that there is no ownership of people, but the economic conditions for millions of workers are similar.

    Slavery was a very good economic system, unless you were a slave.

    Another economic example comes to mind and that is the State workers here in Iowa. Many Iowans are complaining that these workers make too much money compared to the private sector workers. My point is that it is not that the State workers make to much, it is that the private sector workers make too little.

    I ask the question if they would be happy if State workers made the same money as packing plant workers? Then I go on to explain that the average State worker in Iowa makes about $54,000 per year, and that had packing plant workers’ wages kept up with inflation from the early 60s before the illegal aliens were brought in, the average pay for a packing house worker would be around $25.00 per hour, and if you multiply that by 2080(52 weeks@ 40 hours per week X $25.00 per hour) you get $52,000 per year salary. Pretty close to what the average State worker makes.

    One thing we as a people need to decide on, and that is, what kind of country do we want? Do we want to become a third world country, or do we want to regain the stature our country had as a beacon for the world?

    Paul

  3. T & R Martin says:

    What we need for this subject/blog is the “Dragon.” We could just say or “think” our views & responses & “Dragon”(OR SOME OTHER FACSIMILE) could type it. Makes a good talk show. Enjoyed all the responses, but now I need a nap. Thanks Nick.

  4. Connie Bradih says:

    I used an inflation calculator and since I used the 1950’s decade to start that would mean 1950s ended when 1960 started. So I put in one dollar for 1960 and got the following answer:

    $1.00 in 1960 had the same buying power as $4.29 in 1990 (which is the end of the 1980s).

    Annual inflation over this period was 4.97%.

    So if average salary at the end of the 1950s was $2992. If we multiply that salary by 4.29 we get $12,835.68 (which is the salary need to keep up with inflation alone). But the average salary at the end of the 1980s was $15,757. So the average Joe was ahead of inflation. Yes, there are people’s salaries who don’t keep up with inflation. There are also many people’s salaries who do and in fact are ahead of inflation.

    You still have not supported with facts you use of “criminal creator” and “unethical investor.” I respect your right to your opinion. But until you support your opinions with facts they are just that-opinion.

    Who exactly are these “criminal creators” and the “unethical investors?” Please document your opinion.

  5. Paul Stough says:

    @Connie-It is against the law to hire people who are in the country illegally. Do you believe that any businesses have done that? I would think that it would be unethical to invest in a company that was violating the law for increased profits.

    If you believe that it is ok for businesses to violate laws, and that it is ethical to invest in these businesses, then we have two different points of view, and never the twain will meet.

    Paul

  6. Paul Stough says:

    @Connie-Here is a link to BLS inflation calculator. In the late 60s I knew of a packing house worker who was making $4.56 per hour. Here it shows what her would have to make to have the same buying power today.

    http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

    Paul

  7. Connie Bradih says:

    @ Paul
    You are suggesting I support use of illegal workers in a business. At no time have I said that nor have I indicated that is OK. Nor do I support use of illegal workers or paying workers under the table.

    What I have asked you for are facts, names of companies “criminal creators”, names of investors “unethical.” But you continually make sweeping statements without backup documentation.

    You are implying that most or the entire corporate America was using illegals in their businesses in the 1960s and beyond. Please again, document you statements.

  8. Jerry P says:

    @Connie
    When we start talking about average salary weather it is in the 50’s or 80’s or 90’s we must remember that doesn’t tell us all the story. When different groups take home more or less income the avg will move. That doesn’t mean everyone is better off. Over the last 30 years most of the growth in income has gone to the top 10%.

    Income
    Top 1 percent, Next 19 percent, Bottom 80 percent
    1982 …..12.8%…… 39.1%… 48.1%
    1988 …..16.6%…… 38.9%… 44.5%
    1991 …..15.7%…… 40.7%… 43.7%
    1994 …..14.4%…… 40.8%… 44.9%
    1997 …..16.6%…… 39.6%… 43.8%
    2000 …..20.0%…… 38.7%… 41.4%
    2003 …..17.0%…… 40.8%… 42.2%
    2006 …..21.3%…… 40.1%… 38.6%

    I hope this graph works, anyway GDP has went up a lot over the last 30 years. The money didn’t go to everyone the bottom 80% is taking home 10% less of all income from 1982. With 61 % going to the top 20% that will make an avg look much better than most people are getting.

  9. Connie Bradih says:

    I think we have all pretty well given our opinions and most of us have documented those opinions.

    Now the question becomes, what is the answer to the “problem.” That “problem” being that the wealthy/rich are getting more wealthy/rich and others are not getting their “fair share” of the wealth.

    I don’t support redistribution of wealth by the government as this to me is socialism/communism. If you earn wealth, it should be yours. On the other hand workers should not be serfs/slaves whatever term you want to use and should for their labors get paid a decent wage and have a good standard of living.

    So how do we do keep a good balance of wealth in this country?

  10. Paul Stough says:

    @Connie-Glad to see you are keeping this thread going, so BadNick doesnt feel obligated to make another post until the Gypsy Journal Rally is over.

    Three companies that would fall under the “criminal creators” category, are IBP, Tyson Foods, and Sara Lee Foods.

    In the early 60s a company called Iowa Beef Packers got into the cattle slaughtering business, with the business plan of driving down wages and benefits to its’ workers by creating an artificial over supply of labor, mainly by bringing in illegal aliens. Hiring illegal aliens is against the law, so therefore much of their profits were made by illegal means.

    Anyone who invested in IBP either knew or should have known what they were doing was illegal, and I consider it unethical to invest in such a company, but for those who place money over ethics, it was a great investment. As I said before, not a whole lot different than fronting money to a drug dealer, to be paid a handsome return when the drug dealer sold the drugs.

    IBP was bought out by Tyson Foods a few years ago, and continued the practice of hiring illegal aliens, so they are in the category of “criminal creators” as well.

    Sara Lee Foods owns a turkey processing plant in Storm Lake Iowa, and they also hire illegal aliens, so they are included in the list of “criminal creators”.

    There are thousands of other businesses in teh USA that are obviously doing the same thing. I assumed that either where you live, or where you have traveled you would have seen or heard about illegal aliens working for various businesses.

    I wasnt implying that most of corporate America was hiring illegal aliens, but the effect of those that have hired illegals has affected millions of other workers in the USA, and has affected our Federal governments tax income, and expenditures on entitlements.

    I am not in favor of the redistribution of wealth by the government. Had we not allowed any illegal aliens into the country, and managed legal entry into this country, we could have a very robust economy. If we had continued the way our country was going in the early 60s; that is smaller families, larger farms, and larger businesses, we could have maintained a fair balance of labor, which would have benefited all. This economy would have produced more tax revenue, and less spending on entitlements, which would have made it much easier to balance our budget.

    So, Connie, in answer to your question of what needs to be done? Get the illegal aliens out of the country, to re-establish the balance in the supply and demand for labor, which will cause incomes to rise for workers, and in turn they will not only pay more in taxes, but they will use less social service programs. A win win situation!

    Another action I would like to see the Federal Government take is to bring most of our troops home from overseas. We are not going to make things better in Afghanistan in the long term, we need to declare victory, and get the “h” out of there, however, I would leave some troops in a relative safe location to conduct drone strikes on the bad guys whenever we could locate some of them.

    I propose not just getting most of our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, but also bring most of them home from other overseas bases. One of the benefits this will have is the money that there are now spending in other countries, will then be spent here in the USA, which would also help our economy.

    Paul

  11. Jerry P says:

    Everything is to larger, Government, Banks, some companies. There should not be a too big to fail in anything. We have to many taxes. We need to reform the tax system. The current tax system is riddled with loopholes ( this needs to be cut out) and biases that hurt individuals who save money for the future. First, both the flat tax and the fair tax (if implemented correctly) would likely be better than the current tax system. This may surprise you that I would say this as to rich would only get richer and yes pay a larger % of taxes. But we are talking about getting things back up and running. The housing market must be fixed (not sure how to do this, but more jobs would be a good first step). Raise the age and Means test Social Security and Medicare. I know this is not fair and I don’t like doing it, but what in life is fair, and are we just going to sit and watch both run off the deep end and our grandkids get nothing. The government should push everyone to pay off their house. How I am not sure (Tax credit maybe) but if more of us had our homes paid off think how much better off we would be. Our kids need to learn about money at home and in school. I pushed my daughter and her husband to get a 15 year loan she has only 5 more years and at 43 they will have $1,100.00 more a month and a home on top of that. They are in the bottom 50%, but saving $1,100 a month will move one up fast. There are many other things that time will not let me put on here. I bet you have some great ideas also.

  12. Jerry P says:

    @Connie
    We also need to drill for oil and natural gas. Just look at what is going on in North Dakota. We must get spending under control. Just look at the last of the Clinton years. Taxes were higher and spending was under control and things were good. Point is it is not all about taxes and what the rate is or who is paying and who is not. Let states make the rules for the education of their kids get the federal government out of their way. More as I think of them.

  13. Jerry P says:

    We must remember if you count payroll taxes in with Fed. Taxes only about 14% don’t pay taxes not the 45% that we are told don’t. Now, jump to tax reform like the flat tax that would make the rate something like 13% but do away with the payroll taxes. Well guess what we would still have about 14% not paying taxes and the bottom 50% would still be about 4% of all taxes yet this is the tax reform that is being pushed. My question why?

  14. Connie Bradih says:

    I’m from Florida. We have illegals in two industries: agriculture (pickers/harvesters) and service (motel maids, janitorial, lawn service, digging ditches, etc). It’s hard to tell who is an illegal because we have many legals (Cubans, Mexicans, blacks) and many illegals (Cubans, Mexicans and Haitians). We also have legals and illegals who get paid under the table (cash and never reported to anyone).

    How to make our system work? I don’t have all the answers. I do know we need to stop illegals from coming into the country and we need to throw out the illegals who are here. But mostly we need to get American workers back to work. So we need to encourage people to open businesses, to hire people and to pay a fair wage.

    @Jerry
    If by payroll taxes you mean federal income tax, SS and Medicare, everyone who works legally pays those taxes. No one gets back SS or Medicare each year. So 100% of workers pay SS & Medicare. Each individual pays according to how much they earn and I put up those rates. For federal income tax we have already discussed that. If we went to a flat tax, the SS and Medicare tax would still be on your paycheck. I also advocate lowering the SS tax but having no limit. This would actually help the lower incomes because they would pay less and increase the amount paid by upper incomes as there would be no upper limit on income.

    I am in favor of a flat tax on goods and services for many reasons. One it would get rid of the tax forms the majority of people and businesses have to fill out each year. Removing federal income tax on EARNED income and moving it to a use tax would mean at each transaction (purchase) the tax would be calculated and paid to the federal government. Two there would still have to be tax on dividends and capital gains. But that too could be calculated at the time it is paid and sent to the government. Three you only pay federal tax on what you buy. If items like food and prescriptions were exempted, lower income folks would benefit because they only pay fed tax if they bought and had services done. Anyone can determine how much tax they pay by what they buy and have done (service). Four Yes,it would mean some paper work for businesses. But if they didn’t have to fill out tax forms every year, I think the work in just calculating the fed tax on each transaction and then sending the money weekly or monthly to the government would be a much easier process.

    Personally, my husband & I are tired of those stupid forms. It requires a lot of work each year. And now that we are retired we have to send them money quarterly. And we have to guess what we will owe them each year. It’s a pain. I would rather just pay as I go with what I buy and have serviced. It really would be much easier on most of the people in this country. And in the long run, I think the government would get more money as those who presently cheat would not be able to do so. Of course, businesses would have to be policed that they are recording all the transactions. The IRS could do that. And there would be fewer businesses to police than there are individual income earners in this country. As far as I am concerned a win-win for everone.

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