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Guest Blogger: Michael Zweig's Proposal for Economic Stimulus

(Photo by Robin Holland)

We'd like to thank Michael Zweig, director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life, for sharing some additional thoughts with THE MOYERS BLOG. We invite you to respond to his questions below.

Please note that the views and opinions expressed by Professor Zweig are not necessarily the views and opinions held by Bill Moyers or BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.
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Congress and the media have been almost totally focused on Wall Street and the melt down in the world’s financial markets. It’s another example of how the needs of the corporate elite consume our national conversation.

We at the Center for Study of Working Class Life are trying to draw attention back to the needs of Main Street working people who are in great distress but left out of the loop when it comes to public policy. Our recent report, Economic Stimulus and Economically Distressed Workers, presents proposals to bring the economy toward full employment in ways that direct immediate relief to those who need it most.

We have found that the rate of economic distress in the U.S. is almost double the official poverty rate, and in some places triple. These are secretaries, truck drivers, home health care workers, construction workers, part-time and contingent faculty at many colleges, and other people we see and rely on every day – constituting over 23 million households. Many are not eligible for income support programs aimed at the officially “poor.”

In our conversations with these workers, we heard that the terms “working poor” or “low-wage workers” put people off, so we settled on “economically distressed workers” as a way to describe the actual situation that needs attention. We found that poverty and economic distress are not just conditions of a marginal and permanent underclass. They affect large sections of the working class.

We set out to design an economic stimulus package that would provide direct relief to distressed workers while bringing the economy towards full employment. But we found that, as important as job creation is, most distressed workers have jobs – just not good ones. So in addition to short-term stimulus we propose longer-term structural reforms that provide universal health care and make it much easier for workers to organize unions.

For the past 35 years we have lived through one of the greatest redistributions of wealth away from working people to the corporate elite that this country has ever seen. Worker productivity has gone up while wages adjusted for inflation have gone down. That’s what class warfare looks like, and the working class has been on the losing side for almost two generations.

When we criticize the increasing inequality around us and call for economic justice, others denounce such talk as “class warfare.” But the complaint is itself part of the war, designed to change the subject. A market economy can produce great wealth, but what’s the point if the working people who create it don’t live better for it?

In our study we analyzed U.S. Census data but we also talked with working people in participatory research to learn directly from them about their lives, their aspirations, their concerns.

Please share with us your reaction to our findings and recommendations.

  • What has been your experience?
  • What economic worries keep you up at night?
  • How do you think we can develop the organizational strength to hold our elected officials accountable to serve the need of working people?


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    Congress and the media have been almost totally focused on Wall Street and the melt down in the world’s financial markets. It’s another example of how the needs of the corporate elite consume our national conversation.

    They should answer for the problems.

    Thanks Fran G. for mentioning "Jim Bullis' amazing car and other clean fuel technologies." Here I am again, shamelessly trying to get people interested in an important new product possibility for American industry, where I have a future interest in its success.

    I could have done without your mention of "other clean fuel technologies" since these are presently bank breaking options.

    The high fuel efficient car, whether it is my approach or others such as the Aptera, would be zero cost solutions to the big three problems of fuel dependency, global warming, and economy re-invigoration.

    Actually, I hope clean fuel technologies also make it, since some kind of fuel will always be part of the system. The efficient car will bring the day closer when these alternatives become practical.

    Though it is shocking, I am not surprised at all, that “We're the greatest PRISON nation on earth now.
    This happened from the late '70s to the present”!
    I agree, We can “talk about the middle class - the forgotten class”, actually it is in fact
    “economically the distressed” class! The forgotten class” 60 million individuals including 18 million
    children will suffer” and they will pay the price!
    The “anti-trust laws have been part of the success of capitalism” are not in existence, and not enforcing
    them are in part of the “FALL of CAPITALISM”!
    It is a fact, we have “Socialism System of government – dictatorship. The power is CENTRALIZED
    more and more, as it is in Socialism, Fascism System form of Government.
    In true Socialism, the top leadership is being replace with the forgotten – the distress class.
    In Fascism you do not dare to do or say anything!
    “Why is there no social movement”?
    There is no social movement because Local, Counties, States, Federal governments, Departments,
    agencies have unlimited dictatorial power and special laws. The statutes are liberally construed
    for their own benefits. Turning “blind eye” on issues is not a coincident!
    The Journal and the blog provide for venting of the social injustice and for social movement in
    America! It is as close as person can get for such a “social movement”!
    “I, will be probably too old to be able to come back and talk about this when we get away from it far

    enough to be able to really analyze it”.
    The past history of Socialism in 1945 in Europe and thereafter provides clear view of the outcome,
    it is more of the same!
    Candidate states, “We need to change the SYSTEM”...! Change to what? Would they AMEND
    the CONSTITUTION? Would the people be EMPOWERED to express the "WILL on ALL
    ISSUES"? I see only solution. It is to EMPOWERE the people to express the "WILL on
    ALL ISSUES"!
    Of course in a dictator ship such a wish is unthinkable, for an article in a paper of 2008 10 21 states,
    “Forget about a constitutional convention - the House rejected even studying the idea”!
    For a persons of a distressed class, with substantial losses of invested funds, that supplemented
    their Social Security, there is no comfort in any form of “economic stimulus package”! But then
    of course they are not worried about the the forgotten class – the distress class! It was not an
    under statement when someone said during the Katrina storm, “They are use to to this, they will get
    over it”! Expect more of the same!

    Make Outsourcing a Disadvantage. The deck is stacked against the American worker. The typical CEO has five years in charge, and the surest way to increase the value of his stock options is to cut labor costs by outsourcing.

    Two things would help:
    1) Replace the corporate income tax with a Value Added Tax, which would burden imports equally to domestic production, i.e., subtracted from exports but added to imports. The VAT could also be used to pay for universal healthcare vouchers.
    2) Require that for a product to get the protection of a U.S. patent it must be manufactured here (100%, 80%...pick the percent). The VAT would make this calculation easy.

    We try with all our might to come up with ideas for new products that we might manufacture. Except for Jim Bullis' amazing car and other clean fuel technologies, we come up dry. The problem is Americans are sated. We have everything we need. Young folks setting up housekeeping buy the towels and pots, etc, but if we could produce those products at an affordable price here, Walmart would have gone out of business a long time ago.
    Get liquid. Buy local. I do my best to follow this mantra these days.

    To Robert Zrna, Oct 19:
    Don't forget "long-term care insurance".

    I enjoyed Dr. Zweig's segment very much. Dr. Zweig has coined the term "economically distressed workers" which is well stated.

    One aspect that touches up against his notion is, "What is the worth of work?" I myself am a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree. I work as a school nurse in a public school system so I am making decent money but nothing wild. My counterparts at the bedside in hospitals can make in the range of $21 dollars per hour or more. In health care, everyone tries to grasp the golden ring of reimbursability. If your service is reimbursable and you can direct bill you have a chance to move up in to making "more". Now bundling and the concept of content of service by design tends to erode that. But as I have grappled with these issues my questions have increasingly focused on "What is the worth of work?" I think we tend to go at it backwards, looking for a high dollar per hour wage or concepts like reimbursability but all honorable work should support the people that do it at a 40 or 50 hour per work week. That should be true for the doctor and the nurse and the nurse's aide and the housekeeper. I am not saying that they should make the same. I am saying that even the "least of these" those who find themselves economically distresses should be able to put a roof over their heads, buy groceries, afford reasonable child care, and educate their children. That equalization may come through government subsidies or yes maybe single payer healthcare. But all of this would require a moving away from the giveaway to the rich mindset.

    I watched all 3 segments on line including Dr Zweig who attended SUNY Stony Brook during the 70's when I was a student. As usual Bill Moyers is way ahead of the journalism curve when it comes to the media/journalism and what is really happenning in American society, the economy and politics.

    These are fascinating times in which we live and Moyers captures reality as usual.

    My new article to further express my sharing with Prof. Zweig's "check" plan as follows:
    Let Every Joe the Plumber's Household Declare "Social Bankruptcy": $20,000 grant.
    Please see it at: http://activerain.com/blogsview/747857/Let-Every-Joe-the-Plumbers-Household-Declare-Social-Bankruptcy-20000-grant

    It looks like we have problems that are can no longer be avoided with voodoo economics, and I think this label should be applied to policies of many administrations.

    There is quite a range of people that I consider to be the "working people." Those who assemble parts, weld, cut metal, inspect, teach, engineer, manage, sell products, and finance industry are examples to show the range I think of as working people, and this is not meant to exclude those that work to keep the others going.

    Obviously, the rewards are not equal. Some are more lucky or more effective at planning their lives so that they end up getting more.

    If there are hard times coming, it will probably be hard for many, and this will not be restricted those less well paid. Many people will be surprised when they realize that they are at more at risk than they expected.

    The approach to getting to a better situation is to learn how to use a lot less and produce a lot more. We need to think more about fundamental needs, while sustaining important features of our lives.

    I am suggesting a campaign for getting us out of the present stuck situation which I describe at miastrada.com . This project is an example of how real progress could be made. (click my name) (I hope it is not inappropriate to discuss a project which could involve future financial gain for myself.)

    It would be interesting to hear about other approaches. Real projects are needed to steer us away from voodoo economic systems.

    It looks like we have problems that are can no longer be avoided with voodoo economics, and I think this label should be applied to policies of many administrations.

    There is quite a range of people that I consider to be the "working people." Those who assemble parts, weld, cut metal, inspect, teach, engineer, manage, sell products, and finance industry are examples to show the range I think of as working people, and this is not meant to exclude those that work to keep the others going.

    Obviously, the rewards are not equal. Some are more lucky or more effective at planning their lives so that they end up getting more.

    If there are hard times coming, it will probably be hard for many, and this will not be restricted those less well paid. Many people will be surprised when they realize that they are at more at risk than they expected.

    The approach to getting to a better situation is to learn how to use a lot less and produce a lot more. We need to think more about fundamental needs, while sustaining important features of our lives.

    I am suggesting a campaign for getting us out of the present stuck situation which I describe at miastrada.com . This project is an example of how real progress could be made. (click my name) (I hope it is not inappropriate to discuss a project which could involve future financial gain for myself.)

    It would be interesting to hear about other approaches. Real projects are needed to steer us away from voodoo economic systems.

    It looks like we have problems that are can no longer be avoided with voodoo economics, and I think this label should be applied to policies of many administrations.

    There is quite a range of people that I consider to be the "working people." Those who assemble parts, weld, cut metal, inspect, teach, engineer, manage, sell products, and finance industry are examples to show the range I think of as working people, and this is not meant to exclude those that work to keep the others going.

    Obviously, the rewards are not equal. Some are more lucky or more effective at planning their lives so that they end up getting more.

    If there are hard times coming, it will probably be hard for many, and this will not be restricted those less well paid. Many people will be surprised when they realize that they are at more at risk than they expected.

    The approach to getting to a better situation is to learn how to use a lot less and produce a lot more. We need to think more about fundamental needs, while sustaining important features of our lives.

    I am suggesting a campaign for getting us out of the present stuck situation which I describe at miastrada.com . This project is an example of how real progress could be made. (click my name) (I hope it is not inappropriate to discuss a project which could involve future financial gain for myself.)

    It would be interesting to hear about other approaches. Real projects are needed to steer us away from voodoo economic systems.

    Sorry for what happen. I just post it after review. It shows three times. Please delete two of them.
    Thank you.

    Guest Blogger: Michael Zweig's Proposal for Economic Stimulus

    A totalitarian or communist regime makes its mandates based on the few "elites" in which an order is given from the top to the bottom. Is it true a democracy has its policies coming the opposite way, from the bottom to top?

    Here Prof. Zweig has a "Check" plan that designs to directly give money to those "invisible" bottom household. I have never read his books and don't know if I agree with his plans or viewpoints. I may not like his "class" orientation. But, clearly, I have to agree that we have some agreed perspective on American society.

    At one point, we happen to share the same conclusion: give money DIRECTLY to the most needed working class or the most less-fortunate poor (I hate to use "forgotten" or "distressed" ) to revitalize American economy.

    To stop the recent crisis immediately and to help cure the whole system in the forseeable future, it is the most effective mean under the current situation, I believe.

    ---This is what I felt after it is reported this morning that GWB plans to have a world summit to solve the crisis. What a waste it is for him to do as he has done to give us Paulson's plans!

    Please see my viewpoints at http://activerain.com/blogsview/743241/Second-Letter-to-Senator-McCain-CFPTB-Is-Your-Savior

    Guest Blogger: Michael Zweig's Proposal for Economic Stimulus

    A totalitarian or communist regime makes its mandates based on the few "elites" in which an order is given from the top to the bottom. Is it true a democracy has its policies coming the opposite way, from the bottom to top?

    Here Prof. Zweig has a "Check" plan that designs to directly give money to those "invisible" bottom household. I have never read his books and don't know if I agree with his plans or viewpoints. I may not like his "class" orientation. But, clearly, I have to agree that we have some agreed perspective on American society.

    At one point, we happen to share the same conclusion: give money DIRECTLY to the most needed working class or the most less-fortunate poor (I hate to use "forgotten" or "distressed" ) to revitalize American economy.

    To stop the recent crisis immediately and to help cure the whole system in the forseeable future, it is the most effective mean under the current situation, I believe.

    ---This is what I felt after it is reported this morning that GWB plans to have a world summit to solve the crisis. What a waste it is for him to do as he has done to give us Paulson's plans!

    Please see my viewpoints at http://activerain.com/blogsview/743241/Second-Letter-to-Senator-McCain-CFPTB-Is-Your-Savior

    Guest Blogger: Michael Zweig's Proposal for Economic Stimulus

    A totalitarian or communist regime makes its mandates based on the few "elites" in which an order is given from the top to the bottom. Is it true a democracy has its policies coming the opposite way, from the bottom to top?

    Here Prof. Zweig has a "Check" plan that designs to directly give money to those "invisible" bottom household. I have never read his books and don't know if I agree with his plans or viewpoints. I may not like his "class" orientation. But, clearly, I have to agree that we have some agreed perspective on American society.

    At one point, we happen to share the same conclusion: give money DIRECTLY to the most needed working class or the most less-fortunate poor (I hate to use "forgotten" or "distressed" ) to revitalize American economy.

    To stop the recent crisis immediately and to help cure the whole system in the forseeable future, it is the most effective mean under the current situation, I believe.

    ---This is what I felt after it is reported this morning that GWB plans to have a world summit to solve the crisis. What a waste it is for him to do as he has done to give us Paulson's plan!

    ps. Please see my viewpoints at:
    http://activerain.com/blogsview/743241/Second-Letter-to-Senator-McCain-CFPTB-Is-Your-Savior

    Michael Zweig needs to update his lies . When he says that cat food sales increase in hard times because poor people are eating it, he apparently does not realize that all pet food (except dry food sold in bulk) costs much more than food for human consumption. In hard times, sales of Campbell's Soup increase, not cat food.

    Re-Unite and Rebuild!

    Focus on Rebuilding Infrastructure, both physical and human.

    The Physical Infrastructure that supports a society, such as roads, bridges, water supply, waste water, power grids, flood management, communications, etc.

    The Human Infrastructure that supports and makes possible the American Way of Life: The Middle Class, The Working Class... The Middle Income!

    1) Stop job outsourcing?
    2) Bring outsourced jobs back?
    3) Make quality education and job training available to all citizens?
    4) Make quality health care available to all citizens?
    5) Promote, support and protect small business growth?
    6) Protect consumers from banking, lending and credit bureau abuse?
    7) Protect the Constitutional rights of all citizens?

    Re-Unite and Rebuild!

    With respect to the issue of part-time and non-tenure track faculty, it's important for people to know that more than 50% of American higher education faculty are highly educated but paid 1/3 of what tenure-track faculty are paid for teaching the same number of courses. Usually, the courses these people (not surprisingly, mostly female) are teaching are the all-important foundational courses (like English Composition) that can make or break a college student's future. Is there no responsible and curious journalist who will investigate why this situation has gone unnoticed by the general public for the last 25 years? I'll make it easy for you: start with the words of this whistleblower, who says that American colleges and universities have created a class of people who are “a highly educated working poor" and that “Wal-Mart is a more honest employer of part-time employees than are most colleges and universities.” See http://www.insidehighered.com/index.php/news/2008/10/14/adjunct

    "Trickle up" is right. As a contingent faculty member making less than a quarter of what tenured colleagues are making for equivalent work, with similar gaps between our benefits, I know that financial inequity is compounded by the corrosive psychological effects of injustice: the distress is not just about money. The moral uplift of Prof. Zweig's proposal would be incalculable. We all might be able to look each other in the eye again.

    In our current financial crisis it seems every one, economists, politicians, and the media are all blaming the American people for spending too much. I'm sorry, but for years every advertising company in America has been selling us the 'American Dream', to the point that we're all addicted to it. We buy what they want us to buy, we want what we're told to want, yet we're not given the means to obtain the 'Dream'. The fat cats on Wall Street and the politicians are doing fine, but mom & pop in small town America are being squeezed and going in the hole trying to keep up. Take for instance the basics that every family should be providing it's members;
    full health, dental, eyeglass insurance
    six months to a years wages in the bank for emergencies
    life insurance on the parents life to care for each child in case of death
    burial insurance
    a house with insurance
    two cars with insurance
    college accounts for each child
    retirement accounts for each parent
    injury/wage insurance
    money for vacations each year
    all the medications the doctor prescribes
    along with all the Pringles, Mc Donalds, Beer, Wine, Soda, Fancy Water, Organic Foods, and all the cakes and cookies you can manage to eat. No wonder our nation is falling apart, the people are trying to do the impossible, buy their million dollar American Dream on less than $50,000 dollars, while being blamed for spending too much.

    I have a question: 
    if jobs are disapearing due to automation and because they can be done cheaper in other parts of the world, then it follows that eventualy there will be no work available localy for larger or smaller parts of the population that are willing and able to work. This only hurts the local economy and not the national economy as a whole. How do these unemployable population get supported without the stigma of unearned benefits atached to these payments. How can the work ethic, so much part of our thinking be broken? It seems that more and more one has to realize that it is the right to work that has to be earned not the right to be idle.

    You mention that company management is the reason union membership is so incredibly low in this country. Could it not have something to do with the fact that union leaders have so lost their way that getting a good contract is just about last on the list of things to do? If I felt a union would improve my life I would be first in line. As they are, the unions in the US are more and more irrelevant, not because they have no purpose, but because they are much more interested in lobbying government and padding their own pockets instead of getting good contracts.

    Segmenting our population has not been as big a problem as has GREED, in all segments.

    The level of misreprentation of material facts, deception by scheme, sitck-their-heads-in-the-sand, old crony regulators has shown to be a critical problem, that shakes the foundations of capatialism.

    Greed of people buying houses they knew they could not afford--but who can blame them for accepting something to good to be true--was wrong.

    Greed of bankers, brokers, insurers, govt. (FED) are of a different scope! They knew better, but EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT so they jumped into the cesspool of illegal practices.

    Go to jail! Go directly to jail! Do not pass Go! Give back your ill-gotten gains!

    Those that have means of paying for the house they were kicked out of, or, about to be kicked out of, should be returned with mortgages from the #700 Billion and if they ever sell, any profit should be split with the taxpayers--say 50\50% up to the amount the tax payers put up plus interest.

    It is to easy to figure out a reasonable solution. Why are the FEDs taking so long? What scheme are they up to now?

    Billy Bob, Florida

    Again with "those people!" -- it's like a nervous tic, whenever you speak of the poor, Mr. Moyers. That phrase was heard at least a dozen times in your conversation with Mr. Zweig.

    I appreciate your frequent focus on the shameful economic inequality in our country but, as I've written here before, we're all "working class" as long as we have to work for a living. The great difference isn't between the dwindling "middle class" and the "poor" (or "economically distressed"), but between working people and those who needn't earn another dollar.

    I've also pointed out previously that plenty of journalists are among the new poor, given the extreme consolidation of media and outsourcing of writing and editing work to India. Education, talent and experience have provided no protection for a growing horde of folks in your own field -- not an alien group of "those people" at all!

    This time I noticed a couple of comments similar to my complaints -- from Rene, who pointed out how easy it is for any American to fall into poverty and get stuck there, and Meridian, who noted that choosing certain careers often dooms people to poverty from the start.

    My own situation illustrates both factors. Through the combination of a family medical emergency and the fact that word-people have become a dime a dozen, I lost everything over the course of a decade and am broke in my 50s. It doesn't matter that I have degrees in three fields, a Mensa-rated mind, a long list of professional awards and the cultural sophistication of a world-traveler. Indeed, these are drawbacks when applying for the types of jobs that remain available in this ruined nation.

    Thanks for the valuable work you do, when so few truth-tellers remain. Please will you also make it more widely known that it's past time for us to drop the "middle class" airs and graces and recognize that America's working people have been on the same sinking boat for a generation? Only the boats of predators -- and the lucky, many now running out of luck -- have done any rising.

    Disregard some of that comment. It is late at night and I read the blog wrong. I thought that you wrote that DR.ZWEIG said that the candidates didn't mention the middle class, not BILL MOYERS. I deeply apologize!

    First, I would like to say great job Dr. Zweig. I really admire you for all that you have done and continue to do. To the blogger below me, Stephanie Kaye, I feel that you have misunderstood what Dr. Zweig meant by his comments on the campaign. I feel that he was saying yes, the candidates do address the middle class, but the "upper" middle class; small business owners, professionals, managers, etc. The candidates aim at this "middle class" possibly because they vote more. If you look at the demographic statistics and trends, there are 3 times as many people that vote with incomes of $60,000-$70,000/year than people with incomes of $20,000-$40,000/year. The objective of this conversation wasn't to discuss the viewpoints of the candidates or judge them in any way, it was to inform viewers of the current living conditions of the working class and explain his findings. I feel that you're worrying about the wrong issue and pointing fingers, but that is not the matter that should be focused on, it is not what you were supposed to take with you from this discussion. Good job PBS!

    Mr. Moyers commented that neither McCain nor Obama have mentioned the "middle class" In truth Senator Obama constantly talks about his economic plans for the middle class, while Senator McCain did not mention these two words in any of the three debates. Why would Bill Moyers, one of our most trusted and fair journalists mislead his listeners this way? I understand the importance of remaining nonpartisan, however to say Obama does NOT talk about the "middle class" or the "economically distressed" is an outright LIE. I am so disappointed in you, Mr. Moyers. Also it would have been useful to voters to understand the similarities between Obama's platform and the recommendations made by the brilliant Mr. Zweig. If we can no longer trust Bill Moyers and PBS, who can we trust?

    A great segment! However, everytime I hear someone talk about the economically disadvantaged I continue to want them to broaden the conversation to include not only those who engage in manual labor but also those front line workers in the social service, youth service, recreation, and educational systems. Teachers, social workers, after school program coordinators, domestic violence workers, those who work in homeless shelters, community organizers, etc. Are frequently degreed well educated people who chose to live their lives in service to their community. (police officers, city workers, and those in the military should also be added to this list) The return for their hard work is often have to work multiple jobs, their families suffer and they are often ineligible for the services and programs that are available for the individuals they serve because sometimes they are just a hair away from the poverty. Social workers with Masters degrees in most communities in the Midwest make an starting salary of $27,000. This salary and their student loan payments means that they are struggling constantly to make ends meet. So, my only suggestion is that the conversation not focus exclusively on trade laborers but also the social service industry. The key to improving our communities is strengthening the safety net for all families with a household income under $50,000. There are a lot 'professionals' who keep our children and our communities in this category struggling to just survive. Single women are especially vulnerable and no one really talks about these issues in ways that address these issues comprehensively. I encourage those who are looking at these issues broaden their lens to include all those in the human service/community service/not for profit fields in their research/dialog. Without a safety net these are the people who are exceptionally vulnerable.

    What Senator Obama needs to say to his congregation is this, or something like this:

    “For the last eight years we have had “Trickle Down" economics, where the wealthy section of our citizens have had lower tax rates in the hope of creating more jobs. This has not worked, and what we need now is "Trickle Up” economics where the middle class will have lower taxes to definitely create more jobs by increasing spending on Main Street”

    He needs to make it simple and not get involved with Keynesian Economics or Friedman Economics.

    This was a great conversation. One that is desperately needed.

    I was one that never had alot of money, but, was able to get by until i became disabled. The education of Mary has been a journey of culture shock.

    At one point, the question was raised in this segment as to why no one addresses the issues of the working poor. One answer is, poverty is big business. Both in the private sector and in government agencies.

    As an example, i live in subsidized housing for the disabled. The property is managed by a sub-contractor to HUD. This company, determines my elegibility for subsidized housing, manages the property, polices for "rule compliance", recieves the payments from myself and the government, finally, makes the profits as a sub contractor. I have lived here for a good many years, yes, HUD inspects once a year. Only once in those years has my apartment been inspected. As the HUD inspectors poked though my home, not one word was said to me, not one question was addressed to me.

    This is just one example. My experience boils down to this, no agency, public or private is willing to address the core issues to solve problems. A solved problem ceases to be a source of income.

    Good segment. Leo Durocher once said:"80% of people don't care about your troubles and 20% are glad you have them". Its an uphill battle given the current culture of greed and 'its ok for me to have more and who cares about anyone else' culture. Talk radio's hate message is spewed daily hitting on 'if only they had worked harder...' maybe talking to the 20%? Ah, but the chickens are looking for and finding a $7bn roost.
    If this doesn't change and we can't open our corporate hearts and get some good old American compassion for our own, this country is doomed to be like the 3rd world.

    Hi Bill...I am among "those" people, the working poor, with a twist. I had a great education, and used to have a great job in the top 2% of taxpayers. About 10 yrs. ago, I suffered what millions of Americans are now experiencing...the collapse of my 401k, thanks mostly to my "financial" consultant. No government bail-out for me. Many, many, many Americans are about to join me, down here, on the foundation. I say foundation, because we, the working poor, are what holds the rest up. If the "foundation" of this house of cards is not strong, if it is the weakest part of the structure, whatever you build on top of it, will collapse. We, all Americans, are one whisker from the tumble, hence all the fear, in the last few weeks. If we don't adopt a bottom up policy in this country, as most economists seem to believe is the way to address the problem, we are doomed to watch our house of cards collapse once again.
    Thanks
    Rene

    This was a great segment! Yes, let's get some real assistance down to the working families who have suffered the most in the foreclosure crisis. Politicians talk about getting help to main street not Wall Street, but Zweig hits the mark. Take a look at Jane Sasseen's column in Business Week 10/27/08 on what may be needed to "untie the Gordian knot created by the mass securitization of mortgage loans" being bankruptcy reform.

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