How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Barbara Garson talks about the human costs of our economic recession and slow recovery. In Down the Up Escalator: How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession Garson interviewed an economically and geographically wide variety of Americans to show how loss and insecurity is affecting their lives. She looks at the consequences of the stag­nation of wages and our growing reliance on credit.


Barbara Garson

Comments [22]

Rich from Cleveland Ohio

Its our politicians policies on everything from import duties, tax loopholes for large corporations, health care, anything money can buy through political contributions. A billion dollars to run for president, 10 or more million for Senator... Of course we are being thrown under the bus.

Jun. 12 2013 07:41 AM
Daniele from NYC

I am listening to the 12 midnight re-broadcasr of Barbara Garson's segment.
I feel that I must add a comment.
I lost a job one year ago--hostile takeover.
I have only been able to find part time work in my field.
The hourly pay rate is about 1/3 of my previously salary, and I work fewer hours.
I am making exactly the same hourly rate that I made 20 years ago, when I started out
in this profession.
However, 20 years ago I was working full time, with benefits--med insurance, profit sharing, etc.
Today employers know that that they can get away with this shit because there are vast numbers
of very qualified unemployed individuals.
So much for the American Dream.

Apr. 03 2013 01:07 AM
clive betters

she had pretty good info,though. she's on the money for the most part. good work ms garson. she just does not seem to know what a conversation is.

Apr. 02 2013 08:07 PM
clive betters

has this woman ever done radio before,and did she seriously think she had all bloody day to tell a story? she and mike, were completely out of synch in their interaction.

Apr. 02 2013 06:36 PM
Jf from The future

They in power know that this society is a ponzi scheme. That.s what the concentration camps are for. The revolution. When that fails we can finally have an american dream utopia.

Apr. 02 2013 01:09 PM

To: Joe nearby. I would call it GREED - which once upon a time was considered a vice but currently is considered a virtue.

Apr. 02 2013 01:07 PM
Joe from nearby

The upper class forces taxpayers to bail them out at the slightest signs of failure, yet these same upper class can then give our taxpayer's jobs to 90 cent an hour foreigners around the globe, so this same upper class and their supporting investor class can then pocket even more profits, all the while hurling slurs of lazy no goods at those of us who used to have these mortgage and bill paying jobs here at home, that bailed them out.
What would you call that?

Apr. 02 2013 12:46 PM
theresa nicholas

What about the effect of outsourcing on white-collar workers? Many industries, publishing prominent among them, have sent skilled jobs overseas.

Apr. 02 2013 12:43 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Corporate America is flush with cash, cheaply manufactured by the Feds, and they now expect tax-payers to subsidize their workers with food-stamps and medicaid. Benefits and a living wage are four letter words.

Apr. 02 2013 12:42 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

This is not a recession. This is the establishment of a new equilibrium that permanently puts most of us back down to a lower, pre-WWII standard of living. It's not the end of the world.

Apr. 02 2013 12:41 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Some good points from this guest. But I do wish she was a little clearer and stronger on her points. Also, her 'aww-shucks'/'golly' tone on such a vital topic is a little off-putting.

And regarding blacks -- many in this economy are just now experiencing but a little of what blacks have gone through for centuries. 'Tis a whole other topic...

Apr. 02 2013 12:39 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The attempt to maintain an unsustainable standard of living is like running up an infinite down escalator. You can run up for a distance, until your energy runs out, and then the escalator will take you down. Globalization and the rise of Asia in particular has changed EVERYTHING FOREVER!

For 1400 years, since the end of the Roman empire until the dawn of the industrial age around 1800, the world population and the average standard of living of the people barely changed. A traditional, poor world with drudgery and poverty is all people ever expected. The industrial revolution created rising and increasingly unachievable expectations.

Apr. 02 2013 12:34 PM
Alicia from Manhattan

I'm the mother of a 13-year-old (she'll be in high school next September)who's an ok student but will not be going to an elite college. What do I tell her about choosing a career in the economy she'll be entering?

Apr. 02 2013 12:30 PM
samantha from Rockland County

My 63 year-old mother lost her job 4 1/2 years ago. After 2 years of looking for a job, she rented out her condo in Central Massachusetts, and moved in me and my family in Rockland County. After looking for another year, she finally found another job at a local non-profit, where she has health insurance, but does not earn enough to afford her own apartment. We are happy to have her with us, but having been out on her own since the age of 15, needing to live with us has been very difficult for her.

Apr. 02 2013 12:29 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Well, maybe we can all go back to farming again, which is what employed 60% of Americans only a century or so ago.

But the fact is, the "middle class" was just an ephemeral post-WWII phenomenon that probably will never be repeated. It's the old "Iron Law of Rents and Wages." The natural condition of most workers is a subsistence existence, only the modern condition of "subsistence" is thankfully higher than it was before the industrial revolution. IOW, "poverty" is the norm, and "middle class" is the aberration. A temporary phenomenon that sometimes occurs after winning wars and setting back the competition. With all other things being made equal, the equilibrium reemerges to rebalance the natural order, which is that most workers will always be at the cusp of subsistence.

Apr. 02 2013 12:25 PM
Leo from Queens

This discussion is excellent. This woman just mentions how these professional white collar workers have become temps.

What needs to be reviewed is that pretty much ALL of us are currently temp itinerant workers - We are all sub contracted to other companies and are basically working like the migrant farmers - several months here and 1 year there, then 8 months there.

That has an impact not just on professional growth and stability but also has an impact on real estate and family's ability to save when they are settled. Now we are expected to move to CT for the next assignment on our dime and then move back to the city for the next 14 months and then to NJ for the next 8 months. That is not sustainable since it prevents people from taking roots in one community and saving and building a nest egg. It also restricts people ability to be 'mobile' and 'flexible' when your jobs/assignments are temporary and if you can't sell your house of are unable to then you have to give up the next assignment 50 miles out in the suburbs or in the City or incur the costs of commuting or temporary housing during the work week.
This has not been studied yet.

Apr. 02 2013 12:23 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Ohhh, a milestone; an 'expert' has clearly articulated the connection between income inequality and the recession/debt/deficit:

Falling, stagnant wages make people thirsty for credit (just as their creditworthiness deteriorates) in a desperate attempt to compensate..
Meanwhile, the overpaid look for more ways to collect easy rents (interest) for their excess money. After funding deregulation, they invest in bad mortgages for quick securitization and sell-off.
This pyramid, built on sand, crumbles.

And now, Republicans and other shortsighted and/or shady types want to focus on the resultant 'debt' and not fixing the unsustainably unequal economy that produced it...

Apr. 02 2013 12:20 PM

how many of these people u are talking about have a college degree?

Apr. 02 2013 12:17 PM
antonio from baySide

The aftermath is just scenery.
I feel this Depression has connected some people to why these booms and busts keep happening.
Going forward, with social networks we can now easily spread ideas from the Richard Wolf's of the world; Let us know what is REALLY going on...
In a decade, the political establishments are going to get a rude awakening, as the masses will finally be able to make choices good for them...It's happening, Bank Transfer Day for example...

Apr. 02 2013 12:16 PM

The top 1% will not be happy until they own 100% of everything in America. They are well on their way to accomplishing this. "Trickle Down" should be renamed as "Trickle Up" because that's what's actually happening.

Apr. 02 2013 12:12 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

It was reported to today that 12% of the workers in the 17 EUROzone countries out of work. More than 1/4 of the workers of Spain and Greece are out of work. Compared to Europe, we're doing relatively well. But obviously, not well enough.

Apr. 02 2013 12:09 PM
George from Brooklyn

How has the recession affected political movements and discourse? Was the tea party a reaction to economic frustration?

Apr. 02 2013 06:00 AM

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