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Income Inequality

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Here's a topic on which Rush Limbaugh is deal on accurate.  This is all about the use of envy as a political tool.

 

Which, even if true, is much less distastefull than Rush's consistent use of hate and bigotry as a political tool.  His entire presentation each day is scripted towards elevating rich people.... errrrrr, sorry, job creators.... to diety status while blaming all of societies ills on the poorest segments of city dwellers (poor, uneducated rural folk are his bread and butter, so they are largely spared of any direct criticism).  Each and every proposition he espouses goes back to those two fundamental principles of his talk show.  To his credit, he effectively captures and uses the passions and vitriole of his listening audience to very efffectively perpetuate the growing divide in income equality.  He convinces his listening audience to allow their hate to blind them to what's largely in their own best interests.

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On topic article stating the obvious about the marriage cycle that is helping drive income inequality.

 

 

How America's Marriage Crisis Makes Income Inequality So Much Worse

The rich and educated are more likely to marry, to marry each other, and to produce rich and educated children. But this virtual cycle turns vicious for the poor.

Derek Thompson Oct 1 2013, 8:35 AM ET

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The familiar story about income inequality and the lost middle class often starts with bots and boxes.

 

Technology and automation (often summed up as "robots") have destroyed routine-based middle-class jobs, widening the gap between the rich and poor.  Globalization (i.e.: international trade, symbolized by the container box) has eliminated a swath of well-paid work, like manufacturing.

 

But forget about technology and trade for a moment. There is a more human story to tell about middle class woes. It's a story about marriage.

 

 

 

Read more at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/10/how-americas-marriage-crisis-makes-income-inequality-so-much-worse/280056/

 

Hardly a conspiracy.  People didn't used to marry "opposites", they married people who largely shared their values.

 

That used to mean traditional roles and single incomes.  Today, it often means both spouses work.

 

Still, they share their values.  Successful parents pass those values on to their children. 

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urbandata ‏@urbandata 49s

In 1970, men w/out HS degrees earned 57% of what college grads made. Today: 37%. #USMFG jobs not coming back: http://www.rooflines.org/3433/manufacturing_may_be_coming_back_but_it_wont_bring_jobs/ … #wkdev

 

BTW, just because some essential governments services are continuing during the shutdown, doesn't mean the workers are getting paid. Example: air traffic controllers are on the job -- WITHOUT PAY. If I were them, I'd walk off and be ready to respond with force if necessary to keep scabs from taking their place. The anti-labor movement often points to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike as a watershed moment. All we've seen are declining incomes in all sectors since (except executives). The pro-labor movement needs to take a new stand now.


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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Hardly a conspiracy.  People didn't used to marry "opposites", they married people who largely shared their values.

 

That used to mean traditional roles and single incomes.  Today, it often means both spouses work.

 

Still, they share their values.  Successful parents pass those values on to their children. 

 

Who said anything about a conspiracy? It is a cycle that is fueling the divide.

 

Although back in the day there were a number of secretaries that jump up an income class or two by marrying the boss...

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If I were them, I'd walk off and be ready to respond with force if necessary to keep scabs from taking their place. The anti-labor movement often points to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike as a watershed moment. All we've seen are declining incomes in all sectors since (except executives). The pro-labor movement needs to take a new stand now.

 

Sounds like someone watched "Fight Club" one too many times....

 

While I don't completely agree or disagree with your comments, I think there is a big difference between blue collar workers and unskilled workers.  America will always have a need for blue collar workers, such as factory workers or construction workers, so long as they have current skills to meet the needs.

 

Unskilled workers, like those you mentioned without a high school degree, are hardly qualified to work fast food, retail or any other basic service industry.  Honestly, how are people still coming of age in 2013 without a high school diploma?  Talk about having the deck stacked against you...

 

Also, when you talk about declining incomes, does that factor in higher healthcare costs eroding take home pay?  It certainly should.

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Hardly a conspiracy.  People didn't used to marry "opposites", they married people who largely shared their values.

 

That used to mean traditional roles and single incomes.  Today, it often means both spouses work.

 

Still, they share their values.  Successful parents pass those values on to their children. 

 

Who said anything about a conspiracy? It is a cycle that is fueling the divide.

 

Although back in the day there were a number of secretaries that jump up an income class or two by marrying the boss...

 

It's something under the control of the parents.  One need not be successful to pass along the types of values that lead to success to one's kids.

 

The idea that "your kids can't succeed because you didn't" isn't only the opposite of American experience and values, it's potentially self-fulfilling.

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urbandata ‏@urbandata 49s

In 1970, men w/out HS degrees earned 57% of what college grads made. Today: 37%. #USMFG jobs not coming back: http://www.rooflines.org/3433/manufacturing_may_be_coming_back_but_it_wont_bring_jobs/ … #wkdev

 

BTW, just because some essential governments services are continuing during the shutdown, doesn't mean the workers are getting paid. Example: air traffic controllers are on the job -- WITHOUT PAY. If I were them, I'd walk off and be ready to respond with force if necessary to keep scabs from taking their place. The anti-labor movement often points to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike as a watershed moment. All we've seen are declining incomes in all sectors since (except executives). The pro-labor movement needs to take a new stand now.

 

I would too.  Are they at least getting paid later?

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>The idea that "your kids can't succeed because you didn't" isn't only the opposite of American experience and values, it's potentially self-fulfilling.

 

Except people from middle and upper class families aren't even getting jobs right now.  Tons of law graduates living in the basement.  Tons of people who once had their own contracting business now make $9/hr at Home Depot. 

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urbandata ‏@urbandata 49s

In 1970, men w/out HS degrees earned 57% of what college grads made. Today: 37%. #USMFG jobs not coming back: http://www.rooflines.org/3433/manufacturing_may_be_coming_back_but_it_wont_bring_jobs/ … #wkdev

 

BTW, just because some essential governments services are continuing during the shutdown, doesn't mean the workers are getting paid. Example: air traffic controllers are on the job -- WITHOUT PAY. If I were them, I'd walk off and be ready to respond with force if necessary to keep scabs from taking their place. The anti-labor movement often points to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike as a watershed moment. All we've seen are declining incomes in all sectors since (except executives). The pro-labor movement needs to take a new stand now.

 

I would too.  Are they at least getting paid later?

 

I think that the "essential" personnel (those who are not actually furloughed) are getting paid in the ordinary course.  Then again, I saw a separate resolution go through Congress to keep the military paychecks going, and I don't know why that would be necessary if all essential personnel were also getting paid in the ordinary course.

 

EDIT: I take that back.  They may get delayed pay, though they'll be entitled to pay retroactively.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-the-government-shutdown-will-work/

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>The idea that "your kids can't succeed because you didn't" isn't only the opposite of American experience and values, it's potentially self-fulfilling.

 

Except people from middle and upper class families aren't even getting jobs right now.  Tons of law graduates living in the basement.  Tons of people who once had their own contracting business now make $9/hr at Home Depot. 

 

The fields of law and constriction were oversupplied with workers due to being the default white collar and blue collar, respectively, jobs of the '80s, '90s and 2000s.

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I'm not sure why anyone thinks CEO pay has anything to do with supply and demand or market forces.  CEO pay is determined by the Board of Directors, which shockingly enough is usually made up of CEOs of other large corporations, and the CEO himself usually sits on the Board of other corporations.  So really, it's just a big old white men's backscratching club.

 

As far as how much CEOs are "worth", my previous employer, a Fortune 500 company, was sinking and suspended raises and bonuses for 2 straight years, yet the CEO still got his $2 million bonus.  Yeah, I'm not so sure CEO pay is at all tied to actual performance of the company all that often.

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>The idea that "your kids can't succeed because you didn't" isn't only the opposite of American experience and values, it's potentially self-fulfilling.

 

Many of the self-defeating aspects of low class culture stem from economic uncertainty, not a lack of access to "education" or "values".  During the postwar boom, many people who were born into dysfunction were able to escape that world because of steady high-paying employment for low skill labor. 

 

Today many poor people are being suckered into taking classes at for-profit colleges.  They often attend medical assisting or massage therapy programs for a year, accrue $30,000 in debt, never finish the degree program, and go right back to the chaotic worlds they hoped to escape.  Whatever "education" they received actually put them in a much bigger hole.  They will end up having their social security garnished in 25 years to pay off those loans. 

 

Meanwhile, for those who do get full-time employment, the 401k they accumulate is doomed.  When I temped for Nationwide many moons ago, in an economy far, far away, I was literally *the* guy who opened the retirement fund withdraw requests.  The mountain of mail would show up at 4pm and as the clock ticked toward midnight, I'd still be there, nearly alone in a giant office building, opening those envelopes on the 4th floor at the Rings Rd. complex.  People were most often cashing out part or all of their 401K or borrowing from their annuity to pay off medical bills.  Other times it was a failed business, a divorce, or something else calamitous.  Sometimes you could tell the person was just dumb. 

 

My point is that 50 years ago, at the height of the labor movement, you were compensated while working and in retirement sufficient as to be able to deal with the crap that arrives in your life.  Even if you weren't formally educated, your mind was not being pushed into the bad places that more and more people are surely experiencing.  The only people who are surviving out there in sub-$40K/year land, which is probably well over half of American workers, are those who are incredibly dull. 

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>The idea that "your kids can't succeed because you didn't" isn't only the opposite of American experience and values, it's potentially self-fulfilling.

 

Except people from middle and upper class families aren't even getting jobs right now.  Tons of law graduates living in the basement.  Tons of people who once had their own contracting business now make $9/hr at Home Depot. 

 

The fields of law and constriction were oversupplied with workers due to being the default white collar and blue collar, respectively, jobs of the '80s, '90s and 2000s.

 

Bingeaux....and observant people saw this coming.

 

When Kirkwood Carbon moved in '03, they did a bunch of presentations about available training programs.  They had closed HVAC because so many people had already gone into it.

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Well, the problem is that the paychecks and stability of the profession attracted more and more people who weren't quite as suited to them.  At least, that was certainly the case with law, and I imagine (having no experience in the trade whatsoever) that it was the same with the construction trades.

 

A skilled lawyer will still make a good living, and a skilled plumber or electrician will still do so as well.  However, I'm guessing that the construction sector is probably experiencing the same thing the legal profession is: what used to be the lower end of the professional skills is now becoming readily available to the general population because of the Internet and the proliferation of DIY content in many media forms.  A skilled plumber or electrician is still going to make a good living, but general handyman work probably isn't as lucrative as it might have been 20 years ago because an average person (with enough motivation) can figure a lot of basic household handyman-type tasks by watching a few YouTube videos (or videos on the Lowe's and Home Depot sites or what have you).  Same with law.  The stratification within the profession has increased because a lot of basic things barely take a lawyer at all anymore, whereas the more complicated questions still do, and they often have a lot more money riding on them.

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Well, the problem is that the paychecks and stability of the profession attracted more and more people who weren't quite as suited to them.  At least, that was certainly the case with law, and I imagine (having no experience in the trade whatsoever) that it was the same with the construction trades.

 

A skilled lawyer will still make a good living, and a skilled plumber or electrician will still do so as well.  However, I'm guessing that the construction sector is probably experiencing the same thing the legal profession is: what used to be the lower end of the professional skills is now becoming readily available to the general population because of the Internet and the proliferation of DIY content in many media forms.  A skilled plumber or electrician is still going to make a good living, but general handyman work probably isn't as lucrative as it might have been 20 years ago because an average person (with enough motivation) can figure a lot of basic household handyman-type tasks by watching a few YouTube videos (or videos on the Lowe's and Home Depot sites or what have you).  Same with law.  The stratification within the profession has increased because a lot of basic things barely take a lawyer at all anymore, whereas the more complicated questions still do, and they often have a lot more money riding on them.

 

Lawyers still make the laws, so of course they can't exactly be expected to keep things simple while doing so to reduce the demand for their profession.

 

The lower end of the construction business is a lot less lucrative than it used to be because many of the smaller projects use illegal aliens.  In this area, the Amish also have an impact, and play fast and loose with the child labor laws.

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In this area, the Amish also have an impact, and play fast and loose with the child labor laws.

 

Don't you mean intrusive government regulation that stifles the "job creators"?

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And having the Amish do projects for you isn't even all that cheap anymore. A buddy of mine was taking bids on a house and they were just another bid. I think part of it was that we are far enough from Amish Country that you have to spend a lot on transportation/accommodations for the workers, though.

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Given the current size of the federal leviathan, I think it's perfectly possible to support child labor laws while still characterizing the economy overall as stiflingly overregulated.

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Given the current size of the federal leviathan, I think it's perfectly possible to support child labor laws while still characterizing the economy overall as stiflingly overregulated.

 

That is certainly the case with "reasonable conservatives", of which I would count you.  But with the radical Tea Party fringe - that views everything in evangelical apocalyptic terms - taking control of the Republican Party, it does make you wonder just how far back they are talking about when they keep saying they will "take our country back".

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And having the Amish do projects for you isn't even all that cheap anymore. A buddy of mine was taking bids on a house and they were just another bid. I think part of it was that we are far enough from Amish Country that you have to spend a lot on transportation/accommodations for the workers, though.

 

True enough, they have been moving out of the area due to "sprawl" and its impact on their kids.  Ever see a bunch of Amish teenage girls walking down a street with bookbags?  They're likely heading for a place to change.

 

People I know in the construction trade have said this about the Amish contractors:  "They do good work, they do complex work, they do fast work.  Pick two out of three."

 

There's also the growing competition with companies who hire illegal alien "day laborers".

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While attorneys certainly are needed as a part of our lawmaking process, I do find it a little unsettling that legislatures in the U.S. mostly consist of lawyers and people who bounce back and forth between being executives at large corporations and lawmaking. It would be nice if our lawmaking process also featured a larger amount of people from other backgrounds such as scientists, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and engineers. Much of Europe has that mix, certainly including attorneys and executives as well.

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While attorneys certainly are needed as a part of our lawmaking process, I do find it a little unsettling that legislatures in the U.S. mostly consist of lawyers and people who bounce back and forth between being executives at large corporations and lawmaking. It would be nice if our lawmaking process also featured a larger amount of people from other backgrounds such as scientists, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and engineers. Much of Europe has that mix, certainly including attorneys and executives as well.

 

A big part of it is lawyers work case by case, and can more easily clear the time to run than those in other professions.  Plus, those on firms can be kept on the payroll while running, and the expense justified.

 

Then there's the nature of modern campaigns.  You almost have to have conducted your entire life with an eye towards running for office.  People who think that way typically go into law.

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When is all this planned out?  Have I been missing some secret meeting?

 

I never really understood the gripe.  Would you hire a jeweler to build you a house?

 

There are several reasons why a lawyer would win a political election over some other professional, although the overall representation is dropping, especially in the HOR.  They are trained in the law.  They are effective and persuasive communicators.  They enjoy public speaking.  Their profession is 'representational' in nature.  They are good debaters.  The list could go on and on.

 

You also have to consider how you define a lawyer.  Is it simply someone who went to law school?  Obama and Romney both did, but neither actually practiced law all that much.  Id suspect that to be the case with many politicians

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>and can more easily clear the time to run than those in other professions

 

A critical reason why elected officials must be paid well, even when something like sitting on Cincinnati City Council is considered a "part-time" job. 

 

Smaller municipalities, townships, and occasionally school boards can be bullied when lawyers win seats.  The moms, etc., can be tricked by the most elementary procedural, etc., tricks. 

 

 

 

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>and can more easily clear the time to run than those in other professions

 

A critical reason why elected officials must be paid well, even when something like sitting on Cincinnati City Council is considered a "part-time" job. 

 

Smaller municipalities, townships, and occasionally school boards can be bullied when lawyers win seats.  The moms, etc., can be tricked by the most elementary procedural, etc., tricks. 

 

???

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When is all this planned out?  Have I been missing some secret meeting?

 

I never really understood the gripe.  Would you hire a jeweler to build you a house?

 

There are several reasons why a lawyer would win a political election over some other professional, although the overall representation is dropping, especially in the HOR.  They are trained in the law.  They are effective and persuasive communicators.  They enjoy public speaking.  Their profession is 'representational' in nature.  They are good debaters.  The list could go on and on.

 

You also have to consider how you define a lawyer.  Is it simply someone who went to law school?  Obama and Romney both did, but neither actually practiced law all that much.  Id suspect that to be the case with many politicians

 

If doctors push for a law requiring annual checkups, would we suspect conflict of interest?  Contractors requiring more stringent (and ungrandfathered) building codes?

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When is all this planned out?  Have I been missing some secret meeting?

 

I never really understood the gripe.  Would you hire a jeweler to build you a house?

 

There are several reasons why a lawyer would win a political election over some other professional, although the overall representation is dropping, especially in the HOR.  They are trained in the law.  They are effective and persuasive communicators.  They enjoy public speaking.  Their profession is 'representational' in nature.  They are good debaters.  The list could go on and on.

 

You also have to consider how you define a lawyer.  Is it simply someone who went to law school?  Obama and Romney both did, but neither actually practiced law all that much.  Id suspect that to be the case with many politicians

 

If doctors push for a law requiring annual checkups, would we suspect conflict of interest?  Contractors requiring more stringent (and ungrandfathered) building codes?

They already happens; there are numerous professional organizations that exist to further their professions, establish standards of practice, outreach and advertising, etc.....most have a governmental lobbying arm. I am sure there are dozens covering the medical profession  along. So yes, it does.

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Have we passed laws requiring yearly consultations with lawyers?  News to me...

 

I think this 'concern' stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what drives business for lawyers.  It is not any particular law which drives demand, it is changes to the law.  Every time a law changes, the lawyers have to ressearch and litigation must be had to determine the law's application and reach in countless scenarios.  Furthermore, the idea that the profession is unified for any particular reform is just silly.  Lawyers represent different interests.  While the defense bar pushes for tort reform, the plaintiff's trial lawyer associations fight against it.  Some lawyers want environmental regulation.  Others do not.  In fact, it might be one of the more un-unified profession, as far as personal interssts are concerned.

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Have we passed laws requiring yearly consultations with lawyers?  News to me...

 

I think this 'concern' stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what drives business for lawyers.  It is not any particular law which drives demand, it is changes to the law.  Every time a law changes, the lawyers have to ressearch and litigation must be had to determine the law's application and reach in countless scenarios.  Furthermore, the idea that the profession is unified for any particular reform is just silly.  Lawyers represent different interests.  While the defense bar pushes for tort reform, the plaintiff's trial lawyer associations fight against it.  Some lawyers want environmental regulation.  Others do not.  In fact, it might be one of the more un-unified profession, as far as personal interssts are concerned.

 

The one thing they are united for is complexity of the law. 

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^^Yeah.... the 'zealous advocacy' thing rings a bell.  But I'd say much more than half the time you put two lawyers and two clients in a room and just let them go, the clients are going to be the ones irrationally arguing with each other.  A big part of a lawyers job, some would say the primary duty, is to bring about resolutions to disputes which have reached a boiling point.  That said, I doubt you will ever hear a client say that his/her lawyer advocated too strongly on their behalf. 

 

^Not at all.  Saying lawyers, as a profession, are united in any way is like saying politicians are united.  Any given lawyer's efforts towards the changing or defending a law is largely dictated by the interests of his/her client, much like politicians' decisions are quite often dictated by the desires or their constituency.  Lawyers are hired to 'speak' for their clients.  They rarely do so for themselves.

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  However, I'm guessing that the construction sector is probably experiencing the same thing the legal profession is: what used to be the lower end of the professional skills is now becoming readily available to the general population because of the Internet and the proliferation of DIY content in many media forms.  A skilled plumber or electrician is still going to make a good living, but general handyman work probably isn't as lucrative as it might have been 20 years ago because an average person (with enough motivation) can figure a lot of basic household handyman-type tasks by watching a few YouTube videos (or videos on the Lowe's and Home Depot sites or what have you).

 

That's true, but the reason for that is partially what you state, but doesn't cover the whole scope of the issue. It's not necessarily "The internet rules, Pros drool, yet another triumph of technology over wasteful spending on human capital." While the internet can teach people basics, the names of components and how things work, it is positively terrible at teaching craftsmanship and an eye for aesthetics. Or people become overconfident in their abilities simply because of the easier access to product that big-box home improvement stores enabled.

 

Much of the DIY work I see looks like total ass. Plain, dull, half-assed. "You painted that bland gray room all by yourself? For only $40? No way! Then you slobbered gray paint all over the wood trim, then went and painted that all white for only $20? Man, you rule!"

 

The drop off in craftsmanship and novelty appeared almost in lockstep with the rise of the big-box home improvement center, and it let the pros slack off too. Because once the pros found out that people accepted dull blandness and so-so craftsmanship they figured out that they could do jobs faster and more cheaply without any negative repercussions from most customers, since for some reason the customers were willing to accept the same level of finish work quality that the customer could perform themselves. Like, "I'm sooooo badass. I only have the pros do it because I'm too busy with work. And they do just as good of a job as I would!" And of course it became a self-fulfilling prophecy that the skill level of workers would drop as they weren't required to learn how to finish things out in a high-quality manner.

 

When I see an intact '70s house, I find it fascinating that the fit and finish is miles beyond what we see today even if the colors are wacked-out. And this is in banged-out tract housing. Yet it's all gotta be ripped out for jagged, crooked, bumpy, improperly-measured stuff that just happens to be the right color: white.

 

Fun fact: an old-style Lowe's was still in Circleville until the mid-'90s. It was maybe 10,000 square feet and was mostly plants.

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Sure, and the DIY legal forms you can find yourself on the Internet can get you in plenty of trouble down the line, too, especially if your conceit exceeds your ability and you try to do the kind of thing that really does need an experienced professional, especially if you don't recognize it as a complex job at the outset.

 

Heck, forget pure amateurs.  Even actual practicing attorneys can get themselves into plenty of trouble trying to practice outside their particular wheelhouse.  The law really has gotten complex.  (I wouldn't hire the best carpenter in the world to do plumbing work, either.)

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Interesting that Time has an article that touches a bit on this in their most recent issue:

 

 

3. Automation

 

One of the big reasons behind the middle-class squeeze is automation — and it’s only going to get worse, possibly much worse. A recent study by researchers at Oxford University found that 47% of jobs in the U.S. are vulnerable to automation, not just in fields involving manual labor but also increasingly in fields involving complicated decisionmaking.

 

Looking forward, says Carl Benedikt Frey, co-author of the Oxford study, more and more low-to-medium-skilled jobs will be vulnerable to automation. “Take the autonomous driverless cars being developed by Google. This new technology may lead to workers such as long-haul truck driver being replaced by machines,” he says. “The ability of computers, equipped with new pattern-recognition algorithms, to quickly screen through large piles of documents threatens even occupations such as paralegals and patent lawyers, which are indeed rapidly being automated.” Even the bulk of service and sales jobs, Frey says, from fast-food-counter attendants to medical transcriptionists — the types of fields where the most job growth has occurred over the past decade — are also to be found in the high-risk category.

 

 

 

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/10/17/10-reasons-texas-is-our-future/#ixzz2iU3PPdZ4

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Regarding automation, we recently got those oversize trash cans in our neighborhood so that the garbage trucks with the mechanical arms can come by and pick up the trash.  It's great for the residents, but I couldn't help but think of the affect it has on the employees who used to come by and pick up our waste.  Two and three man trucks are now down to one or two man trucks.  Not only that, but you can fit nearly anything in those garbage cans, so it affects the scrappers as well.  Just a small example of a larger issue.

 

That said, we can adapt.  We always have.  Automation is no new phenomena.  It has been effectively 'stealing' jobs for thousands of years.

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