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Is it Really that Bad?

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posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 01:55 PM
Everywhere on ATS I see worried people who believe that we're in the worst time in our country's history, bankruptcies, poverty, hunger, war, gas shortages, etc, etc, etc, are all being pointed to and Americans supposedly are facing their biggest challenges ever. I will admit that compared to the booming 90's, we're in a downturn and possibly even a full blown recession, but is it really as bad as we're lead to believe? I say "no, not even close."

Ask anyone who's 30 or older and grew up in a low middle income household in the 80's if anything they're currently seeing is even close to as difficult as they remember it being back then. I watched my parents deal with true gas shortages, in which there wasn't enough gas at the pump, what was there was rationed, and there were lines around the block of people paying $1.50 a gallon (and that was if you could find a station that wasn't price gouging). The energy crisis of the 70's, which resulted in almost 11% national unemployment and far, far higher levels in the poorer states (of which I was a resident). Complete stagfaltion of the economy, the likes of which we're not even close to seeing today. The collapse of the savings & loan banks, which resulted in a nationwide shutdown of new home construction worse than what we're now experiencing. The constant threat of nuclear war brought right up to the fall of communism in the USSR and the end of the Cold War. A complete powder keg of war and terror coming out of the Middle East (well, maybe not everything has changed...)

These were the issues my generation grew up with. I think alot of people either grew up after these had resolved themselves or have forgotten about them entirely. Yes, I agree it's not the most desirable scenario to have to decide between paying your cable/internet bill & paying your electricity bill for a month. But for most low to mid middle class families in the 80's that was basically a good way to describe the whole decade, niot just a couple months out of the year. We didn't have cable until 1994 because we couldn't afford it. We ate out once a week, on Sundays after church. My parents drove beaters... a concept in automobiles that seems to have been entirely forgotten wherein a family car is driven until it suffers a major mechanical failure and is replaced by a car a couple years young and a with (hopefully) a couple dozen thousand miles fewer. This was the rule, not the exception. When someone in the neighborhood bought a "new to them" used car everybody would stop by their house to look at it "Ooh, you have a cassette player instead of an 8-track, lucky dog!"

During the summer I'd go over to friends' places and we'd have sandwiches made from government cheese cut from a 5 lb brick. We frequently went to yard sales & Goodwill to do some shopping, while we were there we'd say hello to plenty of other "middle class" families we knew who were there doing the same thing. It wasn't middle class back then, it was "working class" and as such we lived from paycheck to paycheck and any extra money my dad made through overtime or such went into a savings account (another concept that seems to be dead.) I didn't have a brand new Nintendo within days of it being released in the store like so many "middle class" kids enjoy today. Instead I had an old Atari, bought from a yard sale, and I used it to play 6 year old games. Things like the newest fashions, electronics, and the newest toys were for rich kids, not middle class kids and certainly not poor kids.

It seems like today's middle class have forgotten what it has always meant to be middle class. It never meant you could buy all the new gadgetry you wanted, drive new cars, or even own a big house. It simply meant that with some wise budgeting your family didn't go hungry, you could buy some clothes, save some money for hard times, and have some money for reasonable entertainment and passtimes. Poverty back then meant you were paying for all your groceries with food stamps AND you didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. It seems like being expected to budget your expenses today automatically makes people believe they're no longer middle class, since they could buy everything on credit and live well above their means in the late 90's suddenly the definition of middle class and prosparity has dramatically change while the underlying descriptors of it have remained the same. Simillarly, we had people who weren't even middle class buying expensive houses and brand new vehicles in the 90's and now that the time has come to pay for them they want us to believe it's a sign of pending doom that they can't afford their smoke & mirrors lifestyle.

The American Dream didn't change... it's just a case of far too many Americans are daydreaming instead of remembering who we are and what we came from. The roaring 90's were the exception years, not the rule. We had a brief fling with unrestrained overconsumption and lived way above and beyond our means thanks to a lacksidaisical attitude by banks & lenders and a completely make believe prosparity level invented alongside the .com bubble. People had wealth on paper and suddenly believed they were above middle class when in reality their wealth never translated off the paper and they were in about the same boat as they started out in.

So I don't believe for a moment that this country is in any worse shape than what we were in in the 80's and early 90's. In fact I think we're still head and shoulders above those days when people were living within their means, had trimmed all of the fat from their budgets, and still couldn't make ends meet. We all survived the 80's and, looking back, I really can't ever recall a time when I sat around feeling sorry for myself because life was still pretty darn good.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:01 PM
Thank you for saying what I never could. You put it so eloquently too. I remember those gas lines, We never had cable either. I remember the christmas when the family got a vcr years after my friends had them. I dont see what we are going through today as being anything near what the OP wrote about. Great post, starred and flagged.


+2 more 
posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:07 PM
reply to post by burdman30ott6

Sorry to tell you but I go farther than the 80s and for me and my husband the 80s were the best years we ever had raising a family, moving around as a military family.

But ask me about the late 60s and all through the seventies specially when the oil crisis and I will tell you that we are worst now than back then.

See our nation political system is corrupted and our nation has lost all its wealth building manufacturing base, we are a nation dependent on spending and foreign countries to finance our debt.

Our illegal immigration problems has triple since the 80s and now everything is run by corporate America and they do what they are good at, deceive the American people.

[edit on 25-4-2008 by marg6043]

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:09 PM
YES, ITS REALLY THAT BAD NOW. I was around in the 80's and dont recall any hardships- dont recall the stripping of the Constitution, dont recall that much insanity in the White House. Dont recall being groped at airports. Dont recall the hatred. Dont recall people fearing having to go back to the horse and buggy days. Nor do i recall fearing hunger.

Ha! I guess i was too busy raising kids and i missed it all.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by dgtempe

Tell it like is is girl we are old times we are from the Vietnam generation.

I agree we were so busy raising our children that we missed how bad it was.
I guess.

To tell you the truth when it came to the money investments the 90s were good too us.

The decline of American actually started to kick in after 9/11 and Bushes war on American, I mean on terror.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:16 PM
Yes it is really that bad, because everyone is living in an illusion and no one wants to be the one to take the reality check and say to themselves that they are living beyond their means.

Personally for me... life is good, I have no immediate worries or concerns, but I'm smart enough to know that the good times won't last forever and I'm preparing for those days in a variety of ways. I lived in a third world country, so I know bad and life here is the US is great no matter what anyone says. Most Americans in our generation and younger have no idea of what hardtimes are.

People I talk to seem to think that things can never get bad, they seem to believe that there will always be something or someone to bail them out, and that's why I think things are bad now... not because they are actually bad, but because of the current perception and mindset that will eventually put us all in that bad place and then we'll have unprepared people and it will seem much harder than it really is.

Bad is when you have to stand on lines for hours to buy a rationed amount of rice, flour and other basic staples at inflated prices. Bad is when there is no running water and you have to fetch your water daily from a communal pipe. Bad is when electricity is unreliable and blackout and brownouts are a part of daily life. Americans don't know bad yet.. but I feel it's coming.......

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:19 PM
I guess I should say then that personally, ITS NOT THAT BAD for me and my husband.

I thank my lucky stars that that's true.


posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:23 PM
I grew up in the 50/60s and say it was ok but not great. Than the 70s came and I left home and life really began. It was all I could make of it and I did. I never had it so good since movin out. I worked, ate pizza, drank, married, had a kid with the wife and life was to good to be true.

Sure I had a gas guzzler, but still got the gas to go. I never slowed down and made it all happen as I passed through.

Than 1996 came and stuff started to go haywire in the world. 1999 came and I was out of work and that was pretty much the end of a life filled with good fortunes.

Than 911, I died that day knowing the good times were definitely over.

Were at war in case no one noticed. Its us V them in the ivory towers insulated from the rabble down below.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:33 PM
Well, I was born in '72, let me tell you, I wish things were really as hard now as they were in the 80s and 90s. Wow, what a horrible era, relative peace, economic stability, didn't fear the government. Yeah, how did I survive the horror!

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by worldwatcher
So having experienced bad times, then good and now preparing for bad times is ok with you?

I could never see it that way. I came from Communism to this great country, my family realized many dreams, lost family to the Vietnam war, consider myself a true patriot and am American and i would fight to the death, for freedom and LIBERTY for ALL. This IS a great nation and i want it back without having to resign to the fact that "things change" or that "nothing lasts forever". That's not right. What kind of attitude is that?
Just give up to the NWO or whatever powers want us destroyed???

Forgive me if i'm misunderstanding you, i dont mean to flame you in any way- it almost doesnt sound like yourself.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 02:59 PM
It's amusing reading this thread and the responses. I keep referring to the 3% that own the world and the 30% who are their Minions, their "Servile Favorites", which amongst others are State and Federal Employees and those who by whatever means feed at the public trough/throat. There are of course others who benefit and in effect feed on and at the expense of the 67%, but of that 67%, there are the 25% that are the poor, 15% of whom also feed to some degree at the public trough, leave us the 42% in the middle, the Middle Class that all the rest of you feed who build this world and do most of the real work. However, when governments/empires have been overthrown it has been the that 67% who have hung and been shot along side their shallow graves, while most of the 3% escape and always escape.

Is it bad? Are things bad in America and the Western World? Did you have a chill run down your spine as you realized you were amongst the 30/33%? Did you hear about the unarmed Black Man in New York that was shot repeatedly by 3 detectives on his wedding day? That a court found the 3 detectives not guilty on all counts...did you hear about that? AOL posted the story and did a survey about whether people thought justice was served; 26% said Yes...again the 30%..are you one of them? Are you one of those who thinks everything is just fine in America?

As far as I am concerned, if you are of the 33%, you have much to worry about.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:05 PM
It isnt even the fact that it is THAT bad right now. It is more of the question of HOW bad will it get before things are said and done. I think this country is on the verge of an explosion now more so than it ever has been in my life time. People are fed up, and with so many different groups of people fighting for scraps it is going to get ugly.

Remember, the housing crisis has only begun, and it is only the tip of a much much larger iceberg. It may not be time to panic right this second, but you sure can see it coming. All it will take is further deflation of the dollar followed by rising costs of living, a credit crunch and a big food shortage and you will see this place erupt. Things cannot continue as they are, it is not a matter of if but a matter of when.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:23 PM

Originally posted by Terra Serranum
Well, I was born in '72, let me tell you, I wish things were really as hard now as they were in the 80s and 90s. Wow, what a horrible era, relative peace, economic stability, didn't fear the government. Yeah, how did I survive the horror!

Economic stabillity!?!? When Carter left office the only thing even remotely stabile in our economy was that it was stabilly in the crapper. Inflation & unemployment were far, far worse than they are today.This can be proven simply by looking at the figures.

Use the inflation calculator at the Bureau of Labor

$100 today (2008) equaled
$86.17 (2003)
$76.34 (1998)
$67.67 (1993)
$55.40 (1988)
$46.64 (1983)
$30.53 (1978)
$20.79 (1973)

That's a 124% jump in inflation between 1973 and 1983 compared with the 31% jump since 1998 we're currently seeing. So inflation was 4 times worse in the late 70's and early 80's than it is currently. You still wanna try telling me that we're poorer?

Historic Unemployment

1982 & 1983- Ten and a half million Americans unemployed. The highest number of Unemployed Americans in history and far greater than today's figures of around seven and a half million. We actually have lower unemployment right now than we have had in recent years, let alone in the early 80s.

Statistically speaking I don't see the evidence to support any claim we're economically worse off today. I'm not going to go into the fear of the government issue because that's totally subjective. When Clinton was in the White House there were plenty of us who hated what we saw from him. You can't please everyone and it just so happen today it's the liberals that are displeased... tomorrow it may very well be back to the conservatives, but you can bet someone's gonna be whiney and unhappy at any given time. As for peace... uh, yeah. The 70's were following Vietnam, a war in which America's young men were drafted to go overseas and fight a war. I remind you, the war in Iraq is being fought by a vollunteer force. I feared getting drafted when the first Gulf war broke out, like the rest of the guys in my age range did at the time. Why did we fear it? Because the previous war we'd just fought utilized the draft exclusively. I've yet to hear any serious credence behind whatever reinstate the draft plans have been tossed around today. Aside from our pocketbooks and the hearts of those who's loved ones & friends volluntarily joined the millitary, the war in Iraq has little impact on the average American. Certainly not the same impact as seeing your brother, cousin, neighbor, etc recieve a little card in the mail ordering him to report to the local draft office to get his shipping out papers and fight in the jungle of Vietnam.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:25 PM

Originally posted by burdman30ott6
I think we're still head and shoulders above those days when people were living within their means, had trimmed all of the fat from their budgets, and still couldn't make ends meet. We all survived the 80's and, looking back, I really can't ever recall a time when I sat around feeling sorry for myself because life was still pretty darn good.

i agree with you...i'm 55, my wife drives a 95 t-bird, and i drive a 2002 intrepid, have a modest 1468 sq ft home, i do the shopping, cooking fresh food at home at least 5 times a week. we limit ourselves on entertainment and non-essentials...but our house is paid for, our cars are paid for, we only use 1 credit card keeping a low and managable balance. and we have plenty of money to combined incomes approx. 65k. we have saved up this year and have a 8 day cruise booked this early summer, paid in cash. and the big secret!!!!!!!! DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU!!!

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:34 PM
Its whats coming that scares the bejesus out of us! Surely, your figures dont allow for where this world is headed?
There is absolutely no comparison.

And you guys enjoy your trip! I hope all goes well on the cruise , and no nukes are flying so that you can make your trip back ok. You are the kind of people who do not care about anyone but yourselves. I am looking at the current world situation as it is painted with a broadbrush, while you care only about me me me.
When it hits home, dont post here. We'll remember you.

Be safe now!

[edit on 25-4-2008 by dgtempe]

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:40 PM
If you have a good paying job then everything is just fine.

If you're out of work, it kind of sucks.

I love the description of the difference between a recession and a depression. It a recession when you neighbor loses his job house etc. It's a depression when you lose your job house etc.

So, it's all just a matter of perspective.

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:40 PM
reply to post by burdman30ott6

The second disconnect between our government and us, the people, is not just how the CPI inflation figures are calculated, but how they are used in presentation.

We all know that items such as housing, autos, and certain high-tech items such as flat screen TVs and computers are falling in price.

But how many houses, autos, or flat screen TVs does the average consumer buy in a year? Very few, right?

What most people miss, however, is that housing and autos added together represent just under two-thirds of the total CPI number!

Is there any wonder then, that housing and autos, both in price free-fall, are included in the "core" inflation rate and drag the CPI down? (See chart.)

Meanwhile, key items like oil and food that are rising fast make up very little of the CPI, a figure that increasingly bears very little relationship to their actual content in the "shopping basket" of most consumers. In addition, they are excluded from the higher-profile "core" rate!

Just imagine, for a moment, if so-called "volatile" items such as housing and autos, which we purchase only occasionally, were excluded from the core CPI! And what if items which we buy regularly, such as heating oil and food, were included?

The result would be a true inflation rate probably several times higher than the fake figure now dished up to us by our government. It may even reach the rate (as calculated before changes made under the Clinton administration) of 7 percent — much more like the present, effective rate of inflation, what ordinary people "feel" buying everyday things now.

At that level, the Fed funds rate of 4.75 percent would be a shocking negative 2.25 percent. As such, it would reflect the true dimensions of the economic problems now facing us.

inflation is not always described in such glowing terms, my friend

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:42 PM
How bad is its,

Number of U.S. Companies Sold Since 1978
15,397 Companies

Foreign Financing of
U.S. Government Debt
Japan $517.2 Bn
China $405.5 Bn
United Kingdom $299.7 Bn
Brazil $128.8 Bn
Oil Exporters $126.7 Bn
Luxembourg $76.3 Bn
Hong Kong $54.3 Bn

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 25 Apr 2008 at 08:36:57 PM GMT is:
$ 9,334,560,913,805.06

The estimated population of the United States is 303,874,811
so each citizen's share of this debt is $30,718.44.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$1.44 billion per day since September 29, 2006!

Add that to the housing crisis, inflation, food shortage, oil prices since Bush took office and Yes we are in bad shape.

[edit on 25-4-2008 by marg6043]

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:45 PM
you say all these words and paint all these pictures. WHAT CAN WE as normal citizens do to fix that. It's not like we can say here government, have some money, oh wait, we do, when we pay our taxes, and/or get them taken out of our paycheck. Surely thats not enough to stop the debt, but seriously, what can one person, (or maybe 2 if you are married/have a significant other). What can we do to fix it? Rather then taking the doom and gloom side, I'm trying to stay positive but its like no one here will dare let me. How dare I be doing good while the rest of the world is doing badly. That's what this board seems to be right now. I'm almost to embarrased to admit that my familyi is doing ok because how dare we be ok in these bad times.

Something just seems so dang negative around here all the time. The world isn't ending now you know.

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this (hopefully I won't) but I'll duck none the less.

Tela ::ducking::

posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:57 PM

If you are not affected, that's ok. You dont have to feel badly some of us are being hit, but you have to look around and admit it COULD affect you at some point.
I'm sorry but i look at things in terms of "humanity" and others look at things only within their surroundings.
I guess i should stop caring about everyone else and just care about myself, but i just cant do it.
I've seen people groveling for food and medicine this winter and its made me very sad.

I dont mean to offend you but you do need to look at the whole picture. Look, my own husband says to me " Hey- we're ok, what do we care about the rest of the world?"
That's when my Spanish temper ignites and i suck the blood from his neck.
His redneck.

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