To Protect and Perve – California Cops Share Nude Photos Stolen From Citizens’ Cellphones

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Posted on 28th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The new court documents describe a second incident involving a 19-year-old woman who was in a DUI crash in Livermore on Aug. 7. On Harrington’s phone, Holcombe located two photos of that DUI suspect in a bikini accompanied by a text message from the day of the arrest from Harrington to Hazelwood: “Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!”

 

A “10-15x” is CHP code for a woman in custody. The woman may have been at a hospital to have X-rays taken after the crash

 

Hazelwood replies: “No f—— nudes?”

 

– From the San Jose Mercury News article: CHP officer says stealing nude photos from female arrestees ‘game’ for cops

The worst thing about the government’s reckless response to the financial crisis of 2008, even worse than the trillions in taxpayer bailouts and backstops granted to the financial criminals that created the disaster, is the primary lesson that it sent to American society as a whole. Some people like to call it “moral hazard,” but in more pedestrian terms it really just boils down to: The Bad Guys Got Away with It.

That statement may seem childish and simplistic to many, but it’s very true and very destructive. When people with corrupt intentions and questionable moral standards see themselves as having won the day, they become energized and more encouraged, while decent people who want to do the right thing and believe in meritocracy, become demoralized and disenfranchised. This is how a civil society dies, and unfortunately, this is largely what has happened over the past six years.

While this result can be witnessed throughout all aspects of American life, it becomes most dangerous when it takes firm hold within institutions that wield considerable authority, whether that be banks, the IRS, or police departments. While I have spent countless hours documenting the impact within all of the above (and many more), this article focuses on the latest example of the abuse of authority from a domestic police force.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the following:

The California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from a DUI suspect’s phone told investigators that he and his fellow officers have been trading such images for years, in a practice that stretches from its Los Angeles office to his own Dublin station, according to court documents obtained by this newspaper Friday.

 

CHP Officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez, also confessed to stealing explicit photos from the cellphone of a second Contra Costa County DUI suspect in August and forwarding those images to at least two CHP colleagues. The five-year CHP veteran called it a “game” among officers, according to an Oct. 14 search warrant affidavit.

Yes, a “game.”

Harrington told investigators he had done the same thing to female arrestees a “half dozen times in the last several years,” according to the court records, which included leering text messages between Harrington and his Dublin CHP colleague, Officer Robert Hazelwood.

 

“The callousness and depravity with which these officers communicated about my client is dehumanizing, horribly offensive and degrading to all women,” he said. “It’s going to lead to another level of mistrust and skepticism to the motive of law enforcement in general.”

 

As this newspaper first reported earlier this week, the investigation began with a single incident: Harrington’s conduct during the Aug. 29 arrest of the San Ramon woman. The woman discovered that photos had been stolen from her phone five days after her release, when she noticed on her iPad that the photos had been sent to an unknown number. A record of the messages had been deleted from her iPhone, but the phone had been synced to the iPad.

Think about this for a moment. The officer went out of his way to cover his tracks, and it was only by chance that she discovered the privacy violation. How many other women across the country have been abused in a similar manner and didn’t happen to discover the theft?

The new court documents describe a second incident involving a 19-year-old woman who was in a DUI crash in Livermore on Aug. 7. On Harrington’s phone, Holcombe located two photos of that DUI suspect in a bikini accompanied by a text message from the day of the arrest from Harrington to Hazelwood: “Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!”

 

A “10-15x” is CHP code for a woman in custody. The woman may have been at a hospital to have X-rays taken after the crash.

 

Hazelwood replies: “No f—— nudes?”

While there will always be bad people abusing authority within any society, the worst part about this incident is the fact that the cops are likely to barely receive any punishment at all despite the fact the “behavior constitutes felony computer theft” according to the Contra Costa district attorney’s affidavit.

In contrast, if it was a child prodigy who was trying to do some good for society, like Aaron Swartz, he would be hunted down like a rabid dog and threatened with a century in jail until he committed suicide. As a society, we are incentivizing evil, theft and corruption, while criminalizing honor, civil disobedience and decency.

R.I.P.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.29.56 AM

IF I CAN MAKE IT THERE…..

4 comments

Posted on 28th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Via Investors.com

QUOTE OF THE DAY

3 comments

Posted on 28th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism.

They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.

The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power…

The mass media are plagued by the same mediocrity, corporatism and careerism as the academy, labor unions, the arts, the Democratic Party and religious institutions. They cling to the self-serving mantra of impartiality and objectivity to justify their subservience to power.

The press writes and speaks—unlike academics that chatter among themselves in arcane jargon like medieval theologians—to be heard and understood by the public. And for this reason the press is more powerful and more closely controlled by the state.

It plays an essential role in the dissemination of official propaganda. But to effectively disseminate state propaganda the press must maintain the fiction of independence and integrity. It must hide its true intentions.”

Chris Hedges, The Myth of a Free Press

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: This Little Piggy Bent The Market

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Posted on 28th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: This Little Piggy Bent The Market

By Grant Williams

 

About 18 months ago, I had a very pleasant chat with a gentleman by the name of Luzi Stamm.

You may detect some measure of surprise in my words, and the reason for that is quite simple: Luzi Stamm is a politician; and, as regular readers will know, I am no fan of that particular class.

But Herr Stamm was different.

An MP representing the Swiss People’s Party, Stamm was spearheading a federal popular initiative which needed 100,000 signatures in order to comply with the Swiss parliamentary system’s rigid framework regarding referendums. (OK all you “referenda” people out there, I know, OK? But I’m going with “referendums,” so pipe down).

That initiative was one of three being pursued: firstly, a motion to limit immigration into Switzerland to 0.2% per year; secondly, a drive to abolish the flat tax system and for resident, nonworking foreigners to be taxed based instead on their income and their assets; and thirdly, Stamm’s initiative… Well, we’ll get to that shortly; but before we do, we need to understand a little about how Swiss democracy works.

(Wikipedia): Switzerland’s voting system is unique among modern democratic nations in that Switzerland practices direct democracy (also called semi-direct democracy), in which any citizen may challenge any law approved by the parliament or, at any time, propose a modification of the federal Constitution. In addition, in most cantons all votes are cast using paper ballots that are manually counted. At the federal level, voting can be organised for:

Elections (election of the Federal Assembly)

Mandatory referendums (votation on a modification of the constitution made by the Federal Assembly)

Optional referendums (referendum on a law accepted by the Federal Assembly and that collected 50,000 signatures of opponents)

Federal popular initiatives (votation on a modification of the constitution made by citizens and that collected 100,000 signatures of supporters)

Approximately four times a year, voting occurs over various issues; these include both referendums, where policies are directly voted on by people, and elections, where the populace votes for officials. Federal, cantonal and municipal issues are polled simultaneously, and the majority of people cast their votes by mail. Between January 1995 and June 2005, Swiss citizens voted 31 times, to answer 103 questions (during the same period, French citizens participated in only two referendums)

In Swiss law, any popular initiative which achieves the milestone of 100,000 signatures MUST be put to the citizens of the country as a referendum, and in a country of just 8,061,516 people (according to the July 2014 count — never let it be said that the Swiss aren’t precise), that’s a pretty big ask; but the Swiss do love their votes — so much so that, since 1798, there has been a seemingly never-ending procession of issues which the Swiss people have been entrusted by their leaders to decide:

In 2014 alone there have already been three referendums concerning such diverse issues as the minimum wage, abortion, and the financing and development of railway infrastructure. (For those of you just dying to know the outcomes, the abortion referendum, which would have dropped abortion coverage from public health insurance, failed by a large margin, with about 70% of participating voters rejecting the proposal. The railway financing was approved by 62% of the voters, and the motion that would have given Switzerland the highest minimum wage in the world — 22 francs ($23.29) an hour — was soundly defeated, with 76% of the voters saying “nein.”)

One wonders what the outcome would be of a similar motion to hike the minimum wage to such lofty heights in the US. Or in Great Britain.

The bottom line? The Swiss just think (and, importantly, vote) differently.

But back to Luzi Stamm and the SPP initiative.

Immigration and taxes aren’t uppermost in Stamm’s mind. What he IS concerned about is gold.

When we spoke on the telephone last year, Stamm explained to me that he hadn’t really properly understood the part gold played in the Swiss monetary equation until he’d had it explained to him by a friend more versed in finance (Stamm is a lawyer by background but with an economics degree from the University of Zurich); but once he understood how it all worked, Stamm realized that the changes to Swiss monetary prudence which had occurred in just a few short years were (a) potentially disastrous for the country and (b) not remotely understood by his countrymen (and women).

So Stamm decided he ought to do something about it.

The Swiss had accumulated a significant gold reserve the old-fashioned way — through seemingly constant current account surpluses — over many decades, but in May 1992 they finally joined the IMF.

Once THAT little genie was unleashed, things began to change.

In November of 1996, the Swiss Federal Council issued a draft for a new Federal Constitution, and contained within that draft was an amended position on monetary policy (article 89, in case you’re wondering) which severed the Swiss franc’s link to gold and reaffirmed the SNB’s constitutional independence:

Money and currency are a federal matter. The Confederation shall have the exclusive right to coin money and issue banknotes.

As an independent central bank, the Swiss National Bank shall follow a monetary policy which serves the general interest of the country; it shall be administered with the cooperation and under the supervision of the Confederation.

The Swiss National Bank shall create sufficient monetary reserves from its profits.

At least two-thirds of the net profits of the Swiss National Bank shall be credited to the Cantons.

Spiffy.

In April 1999, the revision of the Federal Constitution was approved (how else than through a referendum?), and it came into effect on January 1, 2000.

Oh… sorry… I almost forgot to mention that in September 1999 — after the revision had been adopted but before it had been officially enacted — the SNB became one of the signatories to the Washington Agreement on Gold Sales, meaning that all that lovely Swiss gold which had been sitting there, steadily accumulating and making the Swiss franc one of the last remaining “hard” currencies on the planet, was eligible to be sold.

A single line in the Swiss National Bank’s own history of monetary policy identifies the beginning of the demise of one of the world’s great currencies:

On 2 May, the SNB begins selling gold holdings no longer required for monetary policy purposes.

And there you have it. “No longer required for monetary policy purposes.”

That’s what happens when you finally embrace the beauty of fiat. Not only do you get to sell gold, you get to call the proceeds of those sales “profits.”

The absurdity borders on breathtaking.

At the beginning of 2000, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) held roughly 2,600 tonnes of gold in its reserves. That equated to approximately 8% of total global central bank gold reserves. After the revised constitution became law, the Washington Agreement took over and… Bingo!:

Swiss gold reserves were plundered gently sold in line with the Washington Agreement, and the “profits” (the language used by the SNB themselves) were distributed amongst the Swiss cantons; so everybody in a position to raise questions ended up getting a nice, fat slug of “profit” to keep them quiet help their Canton pay the bills.

Now, does anyone notice anything particular about the period when the Swiss gold sales were at their highest? Yessss… that’s right (as with the UK’s sales), the bulk of Swiss sales were made at the lows in the gold price (between $300 and $500 per ounce — blue shaded area).

To look at it another way, the Swiss National Bank went from being one of the soundest central banking institutions on Earth to just another in the morass of apologist financial institutions that lost sight of their mandates while grasping for a Keynesian free lunch, egged on by a new breed of politicians who knew nothing of the principles of sound money or, if they did, were happy to put them to the back of their minds as they extended their hands.

Sadly, as went the soundness of the SNB, so went the soundness of the Swiss franc itself.

As you can see from the chart above, the SNB has, over the last two decades, oustripped its nearest rival in gold sales by a factor of three.

Adding to the fun and games was the decision in September 2011, at the height of the euro crisis, to peg the Swiss franc to the euro (something that obviously couldn’t have been done prior to breaking the gold peg) in order to stop it appreciating.

How? Why through literally unlimited printing of Swiss francs to stop the exchange rate breaking 1.20.

At the time, the SNB was unequivocal:

The current massive overvaluation of the Swiss franc poses an acute threat to the Swiss economy and carries the risk of a deflationary development. The Swiss National Bank is therefore aiming for a substantial and sustained weakening of the Swiss franc.

All this talk of “massive overvaluation of the Swiss franc” is utter bollocks a little disingenuous. (“Surely not!” I hear you cry.)

Between 1970 and 2008, the strength of the Swiss franc was legendary. During that time, it appreciated by 330% against the US dollar and by 57% versus the Deutsche mark/euro. Consequently, a strong currency went hand-in-hand with a strong economy. How awful.

The problem was NOT in the OVERvaluation of the Swiss franc, as the SNB would have you believe, but rather in the UNDERvaluation of the competition; and the only thing the SNB could do was to join in the great devaluation race.

That move weakened the currency by about 9% in 15 minutes, and the immediate effect on the SNB’s balance sheet was obvious:

 

(Mitsui Global Precious Metals): As late as the end of 2009, the SNB held 38.1 billion CHF in gold out of total reserves of 207.3 billion CHF, with gold representing a touch over 18 per cent of all its reserves. At the end of July 2014, it owned 39.1 billion Swiss Francs in gold (or 1,040 tonnes) from total reserves of 517.3 billion CHF, meaning that roughly 7.6 per cent of its assets were in the form of the yellow metal.

Note that the rise in value of Swiss gold by CHF 1 billion wasn’t enough to counter the destructive nature of overt and unchecked money printing.

Like the Fed, the BoJ, and the BoE before them, the SNB became, at a stroke, another previously sound institution that unhesitatingly ripped its balance sheet to shreds:

Since 2009, the SNB has quintupled its balance sheet, making it (on a relative basis) the most prolific of the central bank printing machines. Not bad for the world’s 96th-largest nation.

Since the EUR peg was instituted just three years ago, the SNB’s balance sheet has more than doubled.

So, with the Swiss franc’s soundness under attack from within its own borders, Luzi Stamm decided to try to use the Swiss love for referendums and the rigidity of the Swiss political process to try to reinstate the Swiss franc as a sound currency.

To that end, Stamm proposed the Swiss Gold Initiative (“Save Our Swiss Gold”).

Funnily enough, the proposal was rejected by lawmakers, but Stamm gathered three like-minded MPs and, more importantly, enough signatures on his petition (100,000) to ensure that a referendum on the proposal would take place; and that vote will happen on November 30th — six weeks from now.

Stamm pulled off a masterstroke in securing the involvement in the Swiss Gold Initiative of Egon von Greyerz who, along with being one of the most highly respected figures in the gold industry, happens to be one of the world’s nicest human beings.

We’ll get to Egon’s involvement shortly, but first let’s take a look at the motions that make up the Swiss Gold Initiative, which are threefold:

1. The gold of the Swiss National Bank must be stored physically in Switzerland.
2. The Swiss National Bank does not have the right to sell its gold reserves.
3. The Swiss National Bank must hold at least 20% of its total assets in gold.

(NB. Before we get to the part of this story where the SNB tell us how big a nightmare it would be to force them to hold 20% of their reserves in gold (come on, you KNEW that was coming), I’d point you back to the chart on page 8. Remember? The one that showed the Swiss held 18% of their reserves in gold just five short years ago?)

Click here to continue reading this article from Things That Make You Go Hmmm… – a free newsletter by Grant Williams, a highly respected financial expert and current portfolio and strategy advisor at Vulpes Investment Management in Singapore.

Technophilia

11 comments

Posted on 28th October 2014 by Reverse Engineer in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 28,2014

schrodinger

Discuss this Rant at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

Are you a Technophile?  Think Flying Carz and Hovering Skateboards are in your Future?  You might want to reconsider this idea…

Snippet:

http://www.blogcdn.com/green.autoblog.com/media/2007/01/jetsons.jpg…So for today I am going to look at a more theoretical Doom Problem, the Cornucopian/ Technophile idea that not only can we resolve our energy problems through more advanced technology, we can even go on to live the Jetsons Lifestyle,with the Flying Carz, Robot Servants and all the rest of the techno-shit served up here since the 1964 World’s Fair at least, but probably going back at least as far as the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Who FUNDS those World’s Fairs anyhow? Basically they have all been a Pitch for further Industrialization ever since they were initiated, a Celebration of the brilliance in accessing gobs of energy and using it to create such revolutionary living devices as the Iphone.

Every device we currently use and in many cases depend on was first promoted at some World’s Fair, from Carz to Airplanes right up to Video Phones, which just about everyone in the industrialized world now carries in his or her pocket courtesy of Apple or Samsung. So many of the devices first envisioned by Sci Fi writers like Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov and promoted at World’s Fair’s have come into REAL existence, that the general belief amongst the population is that in the course of due time, ALL of them will become available, like the Flying Cars yet to make the scene, or Fusion Power also off in the indeterminate distance, not to mention the Star Trek Food Replicators and Transporters which dissolve your body into Information to be reconstituted somewhere else in the universe along with Schrodinger’s Cat, neither Dead or Alive once you arrive, or both at the same time perhaps. LOL…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Chris Hedges: The Myth of a Free Press

3 comments

Posted on 27th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

The bias in the US media towards corporate and special interests is apparent in some sources more easily and readily than in others, especially if one has access and bothers to look at a broad base of international news sources.The great change was institutionalized with the overturn of the Fairness Doctrine under Reagan in 1985 and the revoking of media ownership restrictions from 1934 and 1975 under the Clinton administration’s Telecommunications Act of 1996.

What has changed perhaps is the extreme marginalization of independent sources.  For the most part media outlets declare themselves for one group or another.  The bias of the financial media in policy issues has become so obvious and servile to its corporate interests that it is almost embarrassing.  What is even more surprising is the reach of this sort of continuous advocacy journalism into ‘mainstream’ channels such as Fox and MSNBC that actively re-interpret reality to suit a class of viewers.

This balkanization of the issues attracts large classes of listeners into group think, and precludes any meaningful debate of the issues, even to the very framing of the questions and the issues, and ultimately their very perception of reality.

This is a brief excerpt.   Read the entire article for free here.

“The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism.

They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.

The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power…

The mass media are plagued by the same mediocrity, corporatism and careerism as the academy, labor unions, the arts, the Democratic Party and religious institutions. They cling to the self-serving mantra of impartiality and objectivity to justify their subservience to power.

The press writes and speaks—unlike academics that chatter among themselves in arcane jargon like medieval theologians—to be heard and understood by the public. And for this reason the press is more powerful and more closely controlled by the state.

It plays an essential role in the dissemination of official propaganda. But to effectively disseminate state propaganda the press must maintain the fiction of independence and integrity. It must hide its true intentions.”

Chris Hedges, The Myth of a Free Press

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT DEFLATION?

7 comments

Posted on 27th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , ,

Grandma Yellen, Federal Reserve Presidents, Wall Street bankers, CNBC talking heads and Ivy League economists are terribly worried about falling prices. Are you?

Via The New York Post

Meat, fruit, milk and butter prices skyrocket

New Yorkers are bringing home the bacon — but can’t afford the beef.

The prices of supermarket staples such as meat, milk and butter are skyrocketing.

US Labor Department data show the bill for butter surged 23.7 percent over the last 12 months. Meat rose 13 percent in the last year, with beef jumping 17.8 percent — the biggest boost since January 2004.

Meanwhile, fresh fruits other than apples, bananas and oranges increased 9.5 percent and whole milk rose 8.7 percent.

“Our paychecks stay the same, but the food prices keep going up,” fumed Jody O’Toole as she shopped at the Associated Supermarket at Eighth Avenue and 14th Street. “You still gotta feed your family, but meat and milk are too much.”

Colleen Vincent, who lives with her mother in Brooklyn, said she’s avoiding meat and sticking to canned goods and cabbage, which she turned into three meals last week.

“I don’t do big grocery shopping trips anymore,” said Vincent, 37. “I have to buy something that gives me more bang for my buck.

“We used to buy beef — now it’s a special treat,” she added. “There are other things I want out of life. I don’t want to spend everything on food.”

Steve Gould, 68, was picking up seltzer water, bananas and yogurt and said he refuses to buy anything unless it’s on sale.

“I want people to stick their heads out the windows like they did in the movie ‘Network,’ and say, ‘I’m mad as hell and not going it take it anymore,’ ” Gould said.

At Associated, a gallon of whole milk was going for $3.99, an eight-ounce package of Breakstone butter was $3.39 and ground beef was $4.19 a pound.

In Chelsea, the Gristedes on 26th Street and Eighth Avenue sold milk for $4.99 a gallon, eight ounces of Breakstone butter went for $3.49 and ground beef was $8.49 a pound.

7 Things The Middle-Class Can’t Afford Anymore

16 comments

Posted on 27th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Authored by Erika Rawes, The Cheat Sheet; originally posted at USA Today,

Though there is some debate over the exact income a middle class household brings in, we do have an idea of who the middle class are — most working class people. Today’s bourgeoisie is composed of laborers and skilled workers, white collar and blue collar workers, many of whom face financial challenges. Bill Maher reminded us a few months back that 50 years ago, the largest employer was General Motors, where workers earned an equivalent of $50 per hour (in today’s money). Today, the largest employer — Wal-Mart — pays around $8 per hour.

The middle class has certainly changed. We’ve ranked a list of things the middle class can no longer really afford. We’re not talking about lavish luxuries, like private jets and yachts. The items on this list are a bit more basic, and some of them are even necessities. The ranking of this list is based on affordability and necessity. Therefore, items that are necessity ranked higher, as did items that a larger percentage of people have trouble paying for.

Vacations

A vacation is an extra expense that many middle-earners cannot afford without sacrificing something else. A Statista survey found that this year 54% of people gave up purchasing big ticket items like TVs or electronics so they can go on a vacation. Others made sacrifices like reducing or eliminating their trips to the movies (47%), reducing or eliminating trips out to restaurants (43%), or avoiding purchasing small ticket items like new clothing (43%).

New vehicles

Very few people who earn the median income can afford to buy a new car or truck. Interest.com recently analyzed the prices of new cars and trucks, as well as the median incomes across more than two dozen major cities, and found that new cars and trucks were simply not affordable to most middle-earners.

“Median-income families in only one major city [Washington DC] can afford the average price Americans are paying for new cars and trucks nowadays.” As of 2013, new cars are priced at $32,086, according to the study. Mike Sante, Interest.com’s managing editor reminds us, “just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up all such a huge share of your paycheck.”

To pay off debt

These debt statistics come from Debt.org: “More than 160 million Americans have credit cards.” “The average credit card holder has at least three cards.” “On average, each household with a credit card carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt.”

Not only do we have large amounts of credit card debt, we also have student loans, mortgages, cars, and medical debts. Our debt is growing faster than our income, and many middle class workers have trouble staying afloat. Money-Zine evaluated debt growth and income growth over the past few decades and found that “back in 1980, the consumer credit per person was $1,540, which was 7.3% of the average household income of $21,100. In 2013, consumer debt was $9,800 per person, which was 13.4% of the average household income of $72,600. This means debt increased 70% faster than income from 1980 through 2013.”

Emergency savings

To provide ourselves with a degree of financial security, we are supposed to have emergency savings to protect ourselves in the event of job loss, illness, or some other catastrophe. Most members of the middle class don’t have at least six months of emergency savings, however, and some working people have no such savings.

A Bankrate survey found that only around one out of four households have six months of emergency money saved, and many of them are in the higher income groups. Another one-fourth have no emergency savings at all, and the remaining household have a small to moderate amount of savings, but not enough to cover six months of expenses.

Retirement savings

If you reach the retirement age with little or no money saved, Social Security is probably not going to be enough to cover your basic needs. Even if you want to work for your entire life, you have no way of knowing whether or not you will be physically capable of doing so.

Although having a lack of a retirement savings is a risky move, so many people bet on double zero, just hoping that things will work out in their favor. While some members of the middle class neglect this aspect of financial planning because they are procrastinating, there are also some workers who cannot afford to set this money aside. Nearly half of those who don’t save for retirement say it’s because they simply don’t have the money.

As of late, around 20% of people near 65 have not saved anything for retirement at all, and the majority of people — 59% — worry that they don’t have enough money saved for retirement, according to a Gallup Poll.

Medical care

Medical care is a basic necessity and something we’d think would be affordable for someone earning a middle income. A Forbes article published data indicating that workers in large companies — many of whom are members of the middle class — “face nearly $5,000 in premiums, co-payments, deductibles and other forms of co-insurance.”

During the past few years, these costs have had a large impact on working Americans. A report by Feeding America found that a shocking 66% of households say they’ve had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care — 31% say they have to make that choice each and every month.

Dental work

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the U.S. spends about $64 billion each year on oral health care — just 4% is paid by Government programs.” About 108 million people in the U.S. have no dental coverage and even those who are covered may have trouble getting the care they need, the department reports.

Oftentimes, people will purchase medical coverage and forgo dental because it’s so expensive. Plus, dental insurance may cover only 50% of the more expensive procedures, like crowns and bridges. This leaves those who have insurance with large co-payments.

In many cases, middle-earners will delay or even forego some of these procedures in efforts to save on costs. According to the CDC, nearly one in four adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated dental caries (like cavities or infections).

*  *  *

If only they had listened to Janet Yellen and found rich parents or bought businesses….!

But they are distracted…