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Why Black Friday Is a Bad Sign for the US

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

From Black Friday stampede.
Black Friday stampede.
(Image by YouTube)
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After filling up on turkey and stuffing, millions of Americans flocked to some of the nation's biggest retailers this year for Black Friday savings.

They stood in line for hours for a chance to grab deals like $199 for a 50-inch HDTV, or $29 for a seven-inch Android tablet.

But the millions lining up for bargain deals on the latest electronics isn't a good thing. It's a sign of the deterioration of the United States.

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Every time a line wraps around a building on Black Friday, it's a sign of the bad things happening in the US.

Every time hysterical people start yelling at each other over a flat-screen TV deal on Black Friday, it's a bad sign for the US.

And, every time a stampede breaks out when store doors open on Black Friday, it's a bad sign for the US.

As Alan Pyke points out over at the ThinkProgress blog,

"For millions of low-income and middle-class families, the day's deals are a necessity not a luxury. Wages have stagnated for working families since the turn of the century, producing a 'lost decade' for working people's quality of life. The slow recovery from the Great Recession has been driven mostly by low-wage job growth rather than by a resurgence in the kinds of jobs that provide enough headroom for a family to treat Black Friday as optional."

So, just how bad has it gotten for working-class Americans?

Well, it's gotten so bad that the American Dream is now pretty much officially dead.

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That's according to Gregory Clark, a researcher at the University of California-Davis, who found that social mobility, one of the bedrocks of the American Dream, is at historic lows.

Clark told KOVR-TV that, "America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden. That's the most difficult part of talking about social mobility, is because it is shattering people's dreams."

The speed with which Reaganomics and Clinton's free trade policies have pushed the decline of the US middle class is truly startling.

For example, a study by the Russell Sage Foundation found that the inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Just 10 years later, it was only $56,335.

Similarly, median household income has fallen by nearly 8 percent since 2000, and, according to the US Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of overall income in the US than ever before.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)

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