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December 8th, 2010
06:44 PM ET

Do you feel poor?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With gasoline expected to reach $3 a gallon soon and unemployment stuck at just under 10% - not to mention the added expenses of the holiday season - it's easy to see why many Americans are feeling strapped for cash these days.

But in a piece called "Are Americans as Poor as They Feel?", Businessweek.com takes a look at the cost of living today versus 30 years ago.

They find that a lot of things aren't as expensive as we think, and that many items actually cost less in relative terms today than in 1980.

For starters, the piece suggests nominal income has increased more than overall consumer prices. Also, the price of many daily expenses – things like food and even energy – increased at a slower pace than overall consumer prices.

On the other hand, the cost of some bigger ticket items – things like education and health care – have more than doubled. We're talking big bucks, when it comes to college tuitions and health insurance.

Researchers have also found that compared with the 1970s, more families now have two full-time incomes. But, this change in lifestyle has added new costs – things like a second car and day care.

In fact, after an average two-income family makes its monthly payments, it can now have less money left over... even though both the husband and wife are working.

Finally, there are additional costs today that people didn't have to account for decades ago – including buying computers and software, Internet and cell phone service.

Here’s my question to you: Do you feel poor?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

T. in Oklahoma writes:
No, Jack, I don't feel poor. Even when I "was" poor, I have never felt poor. We live in a country in which most people have more than they could possibly ever need in life. Many Americans are overweight, overdrawn, over-stimulated, overpaid, educated beyond their intelligence, over-extended, over-indulged, on and on. Anyone living in this country who has a car is in the top 15% of the world's wealthy.

Rick writes:
The vast majority of people in this country are poor. Many more are joining those ranks every year. I used to think of myself as middle class, but at my income level, despite my education, I now face the reality that I don't even merit middle class. I am in the working poor.

Jerry in Georgia writes:
You only feel poor if you can't afford those things that you "want" to have or that you feel "entitled" to have. If you are rich enough to afford all of the basics that you really truly need and you woke up this morning on this side of the grass, you're not poor.

Paul in Florida writes:
I'm rich. I have no wife, the kids are on their own, no mortgage, car, credit card bills, dog or cat. I live in a trailer on Social Security. The things I don't have are the things that make you poor.

Johnny in Los Angeles writes:
We are a two-income household with less purchasing power than in years past and we have less time on our hands because our company needs us to put in more hours. However, when I look at the opportunities for folks in other countries who are struggling at levels that most Americans would note as horrific, I still see how fortunate we are to live in this great country.

Kevin in California writes:
I think a lot of people feel more demoralized than poor.

Randy writes:
No. I'd have to get a raise to feel poor.


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Loren

    As a single parent with two-college age kids and one who will be shortly, I feel stretched at times, but I am aware of my wealth relative to the rest of the world, so my complaints are more political - why does our government appear not to care about making sure that there are sufficient jobs of every type to keep employment levels at a good level. By that I am specifically talking about the millions of manufacturing and industrial jobs that the Clinton administration encouraged to go to China and elsewhere and the Obama administration doesn't seem to care about (a moratorium on Gulf drilling means fewer well paying industrial jobs). Do the Democrats dislike work that much?

    December 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Louis Patyk

    I live in a 175 year old 900sq ft' home. I drive a 10 year old Jeep. both are paid for. I eat 3 meals a day help my three childre when needed. I have my grand children, seven, on my cell phone bill. I give to the church I belong to and give to a few charitys,, support little league youth soccer and football. I get that back in entertainment. So am I poor. Yes, SS and a small pension, lost most of my stock investments in the early 90's I have a box of paper that is almost worthless. I served my country and as a Sgt. was paid $150.00 a month. I do not regret much. Now at 74 the gov. of the country I fought for, bleed for is trying like hell to get whatever I have left. My medicar goes up every year while my SS and pension go down. soon it will be a zero sum game while folks like you get more. I am poor.and getting poorer every while baseball and football players Talk show hosts sign multy million dollar contracts. A so called news caster gets fired and recieves a two millon dollar reward. There is only so much wealth in the nation. The greedy rich get it or it is shared. Guesss who wins. Mostly though I remain happy. I have a roof, cloths I eat and enjoy my family, friends and nature. How about you?

    December 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  3. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Jack:

    Poor is not so bad. Abused and ignored with the perception one is not is worse than bad.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  4. Jason Koloa Hawaii

    I sure don't feel rich and I'm over the concept of rich and poor anyway Jack. We live on a planet with 7 billion people and the archaic monetary system will continue oppress the masses in America and globally. Anyone who challenges the status quo, like wiki leaks, will be labeled a terrorist and anyone who tries to expose the truth will be marginalized as a conspiracy theorist. The fight isn't about religion or countries, or political parties or terrorists, it's about class warfare and the elitists who want to maintain their wealth and power. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  5. Kim Smith

    Not at the moment, but I feel like the target on my back is getting larger as the government takes aim at me.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Thinkforyourself, OK

    No, Jack, I don't feel poor. Even when I "was" poor, I have never felt poor. We live in a country in which most people have more than they could possibly ever need in life. Many Americans are Overweight, overdrawn, over stimulated, overpaid, educated beyond their intelligence, over extended, over indulged, on and on.
    Anyone living in this country who has a car is in the top 15% of the world's wealthy.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  7. Judie Wm's -- El Lago TX

    Hello Jack: I feel more frustrated than poor, yet I sense the poor is approaching. The frustration is similar to climbing a hill only to hit a slippery area and end up sliding down.
    The subtle increases are everywhere, and January will bring an increase in postage, along with gas (which is here), utilities, and food . Shopping this week I had an item in my hand (meat), then noticed the price. The roast remains at the grocery store. I am among hundreds of thousands that are struggling.
    We no longer remain the world's richest country and that is sad.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  8. james in greenville, nc

    Jack, I am too depressed to feel poor. Feeling poor would be a step up.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  9. Kevin of SD CA

    On a personal level I don't feel poor, but none of the government on local, state, or federal levels is doing anything to help me feel anything but distrust for them! It doesn’t matter what you try to get done as an individual the government is there to make it complicated to the point of being not worth doing!

    December 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    What do you mean, feel? I am. But at least the millionaires and billionaires will get a bigger tax break. That's all that seems to matter these days in DC.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Don (Ottawa)

    The only people getting ahead in this economy are the rich. Half-hearted attempts by the Democrats to level the playing field have been met with outrage, even from the middle class who are the ones being squeezed. As the old addage goes, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, it's government sanctioned and there is no end in sight.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  12. JackieinDallas

    After 10 months of unemployment, four years without a Christmas season at all, and with dozens of my college-educated, experienced friends still out of work or under-employed, I feel lucky right now because I have a job - but I've not even caught up with bills yet, so yes I feel poor.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  13. Phil in Port St Lucie, Fl

    I am 59 years old, on Social Security Disability, married, my wife HAS to work so we can eat.
    I am poorer and feel a lot poorer than at anytime in my life.
    AND..... I know that I have it better than millions of others!

    December 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  14. sheila

    I don't feel as poor as a lot of other people must feel, but really feel taken advantage of.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  15. Susan from Idaho

    Not monetarily, but I feel bankrupt and robbed for the financial stability
    of our country. For almost fifty years my husband and I have worked paid taxes and supported the US in hopes of an even better life for our descendants. I'm afraid it was an effort in futility.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  16. Jeff In Minnesota

    If you notice, the things that went up more were those that require human interaction such as education and health care. Why? Because educators and health care professionals have educational bills to pay off to keep their jobs. It is no longer good enough for a teacher to have a baccalaureate degree, they need a Masters at a minimum. This all costs money and a lot of it at times. Doctors need specialization which is also not inexpensive. Until we get control of these costs, things are only going to go up.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  17. Walt

    Well, we have no food, and im smoking leftover butts. Neither of us has a job. We got a roof and heat for a month, maybe. A month for the cell phones. Her car will be gone very soon. We are looking into food stamps.Looks like we can take all 3 of our degrees and use them for toilet paper. So there is that.
    Nah, we arent poor. We are middle class. Enjoy your tax cut millionaires and billionaires. I hope you choke on your caviar.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  18. Terri of Southwest Va

    No, I don't feel poor. I have everything I need and then some. We have been programed to believe we have to have more and more but how do those things really benefit us. Maybe we need to reassess what is important for a change.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Gigi Oregon

    No, but we are poorer. Cell phones, land phones, cable, eating out, health care, and insurance, and the price of gas has changed our life style. Many of us are eating out less, removing our land phones, traveling less, and shopping at sales only, and thrift stores. We have stopped supporting our church and giving our money to local food banks and shelters ( Because our denomination is suporting lobbyists to a political party that we do not belong to). No, we are not poor but we don't have the extras we once had. We are spiritually poorer also because of the bad business practices of the government and corporate America. We think twice now where we put our money and who it's suporting.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  20. Roger Sargent

    I've never borrowed a lot of money and have always lived within my means so as an individual I don't feel poor. As an American taxpayer who's responsible for our national debt, I'm close to bankrupcy.
    Roger in Albion PA

    December 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  21. Katja in Tampa, Florida

    Hi Jack,
    In a way, I do feel poor and get very angry everytime the politcians decide to spend more of MY money, while they go to fancy dinners and get to go home, flying first class, etc.
    On the other hand, I did get up this morning, and remembered those in the military who gave their lives, and those continue to do so for our country. Because of them, I was able to walk my dogs in peace and be glad that I live in a country as beautiful as this one.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  22. Dick B

    No my health is good. The rest is up to me.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  23. Scott Stodden

    Well Jack I Live In The Projects And I Work A Minimum Wage Job So Tell Me Do You Think Im Poor! Im Fortunate To Have A Roof Over My Head, Food In My Mouth And No Responsibilities And A Job But Yes I Would Say Im Poor!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    December 7, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  24. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Of couse we are poor, the rich and the corporations have taken full control of America, we are now living in a Lord and Serf America, those on the right want it that way for a very long time, they keep demanding more and more of the people's money or we will not get anymore jobs, that is an America I never dreamed that I would have to live in!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  25. Arnold MI

    I have felt poor all of my life, but I have gotten used to it. When I know people who have 6, 7, & 8 digit annual incomes, I know that I have always been poor.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  26. kk

    Yes and No. Yes because I still do not have a job and had to give up my apartment. No because I was able to move in with my daughter her husaband and children. I know that I am still better off than some people and I was able to maintain my sanity.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  27. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Jack

    I didn't feel poor back during the 1940s and 1950's and we were as poor as poor could be but I was surrounded by loved ones and my parents somehow kept food on the table and a feeling of being loved. Today I have been blessed with a great deal more can't complain about feeling poor as I have so much to be thankful for.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  28. Rick McDaniel

    Since I have been perusing new car prices, I realize that i must be poor, because I can't see myself affording to buy a new car at the current prices, of even the lowest priced brands.

    At least I have a job. That's more than many millions have, at the moment.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  29. Paul Austin,Texas

    WIth each day Jack with each day and I used to feel in good shape.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  30. Dave

    Jack,

    Not yet, but I can see it from here. I'm close to retirement age and haven't been able to find a job that pays close to what I made at my last job despite having been very successful throughout my entire career. I can only surmise that my generation (our generation, Jack) is simply being put out to pasture.

    But, here's an idea we should all discuss as a possible step toward helping:

    President Obama, as the conservative he is proving to be, should switch his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. That would accomplish a number of things. It would quiet some of the crazier Republicans in the Congress as they would have to support him and as a sitting president, it would make him the presumptive choice to run in 2012 as a Republican. It would lead to a more sane approach on the behalf of the Republicans and would give the more progressive Democrats an opportunity to field a candidate more to their liking. (Maybe Michael Bloomberg? Whoa!) My thinking is that we would get a government more disposed to the benefit of the 98% who won't benefit from the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.

    Call me crazy. Dave, in Paonia, Colorado

    December 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  31. Conor in Chicago

    I do when I turn on the TV and see criminals on Wall Street walking to their limos instead of swinging from ropes.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  32. AB

    No, I feel prosperous despite the economic downturn, because I live within my means–I spend money wisely and do not overspend. I always look for bargins and save many dollars, unlike most other people.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  33. Joanie

    I paid 3.25 per gallon today for gas ! When Obama announced he changed his mind about drilling (and how many times has he changed his minds on matters?) the price of oil went up. Makes Iran, and Saudi Arabia happy we are sure.
    Oil price is a tax on the American People, so is the QE1, and QE2 and on and on. Worst ADM in American history we do have.
    Joanie
    Wi

    December 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  34. John from Alabama

    Jack: No I do not feel poor, but I do believe we as a nation could be doing better. I feel very blessed, but I do not think my son or his children will have it as good as I do. I do feel that the less we pay to educate ourselves and to pay for health care will be a good thing, but I feel our competitive edge as a nation is slipping away from us. China and India will be the economic leaders in the future due to their quest for knowledge and ability to meet the demands of a large population.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  35. Terry- Greensburg In.

    Thumbs UP! Jack
    'i' wanta hear what people have to say, & 'i'm sure 'U' do to:
    thanks for bringing it up again.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  36. Terry- Greensburg In.

    Wait just a damn minute Jack;
    They find that a lot of things aren't as expensive as we think, and that many items actually cost less in relative terms today than in 1980.
    Your telling me that with the devaluation of the dollar we've had since 1980 – living on a fixed income 'i' can get more for my money now than then?
    "I" don't think so!

    December 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  37. Rob in NC

    As a teacher who has not had a raise or step in pay for 4 years now, I would say yes. I have a wife and 2 teenage sons to take care of and I work 3 jobs just to get by. It is unfortunate that so many, have to work so hard, for so little. The good news – we will have to work until we die because social security is robbed yearly and the states are using retirement funds to help balance budgets. But at least I have a job.. for now. Rob in NC

    December 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  38. JENNA ROSEVILLE CA

    Do you feel poor?

    No, I do not feel poor. I feel shame for our nation. I am sick and tired of all the partisan crap from the GOP. This is not the nation I grew up in and THEY are shoving our nation down the toliet for their GREED.

    It is a shame that Americans are too ignorant to see this. All those that voted for Republicans in drove don't realize that the GOP doesn't work for them, but for Corporations that send our jobs overseas for the sake of profits. How are tax breaks for the wealthy going to help the GOP supporters since more Republicans are on the Dole than Democrats? Those rich receiving tax cuts under GW Bush didn't create jobs then why would they create jobs now?

    Americans have lost their way and it is time we all took a hard look at those who claim that they represent us. We can't just take their word anymore. We need to look at how they voted and who financed their campaigns.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    December 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  39. Gary H. Boyd

    I'm 74 Jack and locked in a time warp. In 1947 my dad drove a bakery wagon and made $37.50 a week. I spent twice that to play golf yesterday so, as the article you refer to suggests, everything is relative.
    Put a couple of zeros behind that $37.50 and you'd probably have what most folks make in a month these days which keeps 'em ahead of the poverty line. So "No" Jack,, I'm not broke just badly bent.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    December 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  40. bob z fr ,pa.

    most comp. in the last 20 years did not give any raises that even come up to cost of living . if they did more people would have more buying power they would not have to go over seas to sell there products

    December 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  41. Bradley, Portland, OR

    All the charts show that in constant dollars, median wages have been stagnant for 30 years, even as wealth has concentrated in the top few percent of the population.

    These days, two incomes are needed just to cover expenses that one income could cover back in the 1960s.

    Remember, June Cleaver didn't need to get a job like her modern day counterparts do.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  42. Steve

    I am not homeless and I know where my next meal is coming from, therefore I do not feel poor. People in the U.S are really spoiled and need a spanking.

    Steve,
    Laguna Niguel, CA

    December 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  43. Kevin in CA

    I think a lot of people feel more demoralized than poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  44. Johnny C (from Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    No, I do not feel poor.

    Although I may not be able to buy my loved ones the gifts that I would like to, I believe, that we as Americans are enriched with all of the blessings that our nation has created over the years.

    Yes, we are a two worker household with less purchasing power than in years past and we have less time on our hands because our company needs us to put in more hours. However, when I look at the opportunities for folks in other countries who are struggling at levels that most Americans would note as horrific, I still see how fortunate we are to live in this great country.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  45. lou New Jersey

    NOPE.....JACK i have a roof over my head,clothes,food an a piece of a Job too go to! But i'm also scare to Blink.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  46. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    Nope. I feel fiscally ruined.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  47. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    You only feel poor if you can't afford those things that you "want" to have or that you feel "entitled" to have. If you are rich enough to afford all of the basics that you really truly need and you woke up this morning on this side of the grass, you're not poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  48. Paul New Port Richey, Florida

    I'm rich. I have no wife, the kids are on their own, no mortgage, car, credit card bills, dog or cat. I live in a trailer on Social Security. The things I don't have are the things that make you poor. Experience is the best teacher.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  49. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I have been poor and I know what that feels like so honestly I can say, "No, I don't feel poor". Frustrated is more like the feeling I am experiencing. Just when I think I can see light at the end of the tunnel I find out it is the headlight of a government train headed straight for me and my family. My children who don't even have jobs yet will be left to pay for everything our government is spending on things that really do not amount to a hill of beans. All that money wasted chasing around a hand full of Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Iraq spreading democracy in lands where it can not possibly last once we leave is nothing but a waste. Our government needs a swift kick in the ass to get their priorities in line with what's going on today. They need to bring our troops home ASAP and stop borrowing money we do not have for wars of ideology. We can not win a war like that. That is a mental game and our politicians do not have the mental capacity to understand it much less defend us against it.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  50. david seattle

    do you mean feel poor becuz our agriculture practices leave us with obese substitues from non working shareholders who get a tax break cheating me out of nutritional requirements our shelf space doesnt have any more??? yes i feel poor..

    i cant even get a fresh air breath whole time i live in seattle.. we got a double decker highway that chokes off the mountain fresh air,, then 3rd world shipping boats spewing toxics while getting port rate discounts while we shutdown our local libraries cuz the governor took the money to pay the bond payments for the cruise terminals that paid off and pulled a fast one on our port staff and commmisions so now the library money is stolen by the city, county and state to cover debt ,that offshore industrialist promised to pay back in w.t.o.99. the exhaust that builds up in the tunnel is ventilated right where the cancer causing condominiums are located.. thier is soot all over windows .. some inside the housing... truly second rate location inhalation..yes a very poor city with educated who have buyers remorse

    December 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  51. Sylvia from California

    So gasoline prices will hit $3.00 soon??? Clearly, you have not been to California recently. We have been paying over $3.30 per gallon and we are still on the verge of bankruptcy....

    December 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  52. bud rupert

    NO, just broke

    December 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  53. Wally

    Why don't you ask this question of the Republicans, they are the ones who put us here and demanded tax cuts for the rich while the middle class suffers?

    December 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  54. KDS Irvine, CA

    Yes I do Jack,
    I make under $50,000 a year and live on my own. I am single and have no dependents. With that said, it appears that I am doing pretty good. But the cost of living in California is so high that my income is not enough to keep up with inflation.

    With California's weak economy, growing deficits, and the fact that we just elected Jerry Brown, all Californians can expect higher taxes. When are the liberals in CA going to realize that we cannot tax our way to prosperity?

    December 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  55. Tina Tx

    If you mean monetarily yes but I am in good health for a middle aged woman and I do not feel too poor. I do not have to go out and buy every day. I can wear the same clothes that I have worn for decades so therefore I am retails worst nightmare. America has seen its better days as far as everyone feeling richer than before. You can thank Mr Bush and his two wars and the downfall of rules and regulations and him allowing the good paying jobs to leave in droves for the down fall of American way of living.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  56. Tina Tx

    Not really Jack. I am limited on my finances but I have good health so I feel lucky. Right now I am not looking for a job and I am greatful for that but I will dread the day when it comes around where I must go out and look for one. I do not have to buy new things. I only buy when my old junk wears out. I am retails worst nightmare because I don't buy their cheap junk from China.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  57. David in Raleigh, NC

    If the Democrats vote for the tax cut extension compromise that Obama worked out with the Democrats, I will feel less poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  58. Dee

    Jack,

    Over time I have learned what most people in the U.S. have yet to learn. You are not going to be rich therefore you should find something that you love to do and stick with it. Instead of being angry or blaming a particular group for your unhappiness concentrate on being happy and healthy. Do I think that I'm poor? Yes I do but my health is more important than money? Most definitely.

    DEE
    Houston, TX

    December 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  59. Bill in PA

    Jack,
    Feelings, no just look at the ledger and the stark arithmetic. Necessities: utilities, gasoline, medical costs, groceries are rising in cost. Income is going down. Social security has no COLA for the second year while our Congress noted the inflation of their expenses and gave themselves a very nice multi-thousand dollar pay raise.
    I am not in congress, I do not own a corporation, I am not in the top 10% of wealth, I do not own a bank. So there it is Poorer will have to do. While work is sought to pay for meds.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  60. Peg from N.Y.

    My husband has had to take two salary decreases while he has copious amounts of work and responsibility heaped on him. Healthcare is now something that all have to pay into. We are down to one used car. He now makes 1/3 of what he used to make. No considerations are being made for cost of living increases, groceries, gas, heat and property and schoool taxes are going up. Do we feel financially poor? You bet! Have we managed to find ways to live well?
    Absolutely! We may have far less money, but we do feel richer in spirit. We rarely shop for "stuff", buy only what we need, make our own coffee, tea, etc. and strive to find quality in the little things and everyday life. So, yes, we feel financially poor. We have felt this way since Dec. 2006.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  61. Judy

    No . . . and I don't feel the least bit bad about it, because when people were taken in by the economic bubble created by the Bush administration, we were doing without, making extra payments on our house, and saving our money. My husband was denied proper raises for his work, and we really had to suck it in, but we made it, and now we are nearly debt free, and our house is still worth more than we owe on it. Now we have money to spend if we want. Life is good.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  62. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    No,personally I do not feel poor. I feel like these researchers and these polls think I'm stupid along with the rest of the American public. Don't believe any of this double talk. Everything is costing more money. Years ago grocery stores used to give customers a free turkey if they spent so much money in the previous month. Not any more. There are more people unemployed and a greater food shortage than in the past 15 years but NO FREE Turkeys. Now for the holidays,the price of ham has increased fifty cents more per pound since last year. I was told the cost of pork increased by 60%. Greed. That is what the answer is. No one wants to cut their profits so the little guy goes hungry. A total disgrace!! Shame on these profiteers.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  63. Willie McGill

    Financially, I am poor; however, spiritually, I am rich.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  64. Steve in Beaufort,SC

    No I don't feel poor. I feel secure. I am in the military with steady pay, allowances and benefits. I learn to live within my means and accept what it is I receive. If I want to be rich I better get into a different business. For those who cannot find a job, locate your nearest recruiter and see if he turns you away. If so, go to your nearest fast food restaurant and work there, just stop being leeches. News flash, no one owes you anything.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  65. Jason

    I certainly don't feel rich.

    Right now, I'd say no. I don't feel poor. I have a steady job with good pay, can afford all my bills and live a modest life within my means. I'm not exactly living the dream of the wife and kids, a big house with a white picket fence, and all that... but I get by.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  66. honest John in Vermont

    Poor? I make less money and everything costs more. Everything I make pays for one bill or another with little left over so...sure I feel poor–but at least I have a job. Plenty of people with less than I have and no job to pay for everything.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  67. Mike from Denver

    Strapped I think best describes it, Jack. I see people on the news in far worse situations, so I am happy with the little I have. My family is in much the same situation, so for us the holidays this year will be focused on the spirit of the season and not gifts.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  68. Pete from Georgia

    It's easy for many Americans to feel "Poor" today, especially those who haven't traveled beyond our borders. All one has to do is visit a few really desperate countries either in our hemisphere, Asia, or Africa to realize how truly blessed and fortunate we are as a country. I know this sounds trite but it is very, very true.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  69. Sandra Williams

    Yes, but the government doesn't see it that way. My co-worker who makes $3.50 and hour less than I do is "poor." She gets food stamps (who checks what guy lives with you), earned income credit, child tax credit, free luches and breakfast at school and Medicaid for her children. I am not poor but bring home over $7,000 less a year than she does not counting the Medicaid benefit. I may be poor but I am honest...by the way, I don't smoke either or have an expensive cell phone plan that only the "poor" can afford.

    Texarkana, Texas

    December 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  70. KMSUJON

    I have been working for three years and could not save any penny. If I lost my job, I will be on the street.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  71. Doug

    Feeling rich or feeling poor is all relative. There will always be those who are better off than I am, just as there will always be those who are worse off. Whether we feel rich or poor depends entirely on who we're comparing ourselves to...

    December 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  72. Randy

    No. I'd have to get a raise to feel poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  73. Conor in Chicago

    The whole purpose of Globalization is to make us poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  74. Jim

    Jack,

    No, not as in financially broke poor. But I'm starting to slide towards it. Keeping up and a bit ahead is just not possible these days. The last few years with the job market has been tough.

    Time to move to France, at least there I get something from my taxes and the rich pay their fair share.

    Jim in Denver, CO

    December 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  75. Dave, Vancouver

    Whenever I get to thinking I'm poor, which sometimes happens as I stroll to the supermarket, the feeling quickly passes as I walk by any number of homeless souls huddled in outside nooks and crannies with upside-down caps or paper cups for me to drop change into. If I can spare a quarter, I feel rich.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  76. David from Northern Virginia

    I think better ways to measure this would have to include how secure people feel in their jobs and what their likelihood of a dignified retirement are. By those measures, I sure don't feel wealthy no matter how many incomes we have in the family.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Ken in Pinon Hills California

    No,I have always purchased stuff with black and green paper and little round metal coins. I am not a debtor and poor as many have become, because of a card made of plastic. They say plastic is harmful to the environment, in this case the economic one.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  78. Greg in Mechanicsburg

    Every time I have to tell my son, "No, we can't afford to get you that," I feel poor. Every time I build my fantasy computer on line I feel poor. Every time I pay my bills I feel poor. My wife and I only have a few more good years left and have hardly saved a dime toward retirement and still haven't recouped the loses from the crash on Wall Street just over two years ago.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  79. Marvin in Polo,MO

    Jack, I'll let you know as soon as I get through going through this dumpster. I can say that I'm happy that there only three people in line ahead of me

    December 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  80. Anne, Vancouver

    Not at all. I learned my lesson in a previous recession. Any pay increases after adjusting for cost of living expenses was saved Any tax cuts were saved. I went to night school while working to beef up my skills and never looked back. You have to be disciplined and have a plan. No one has ever guaranteed you a job for life so don't make them accountable for something out of their control. You have to take responsibility for yourself. Learn to live within your means. It isn't that tough to do.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  81. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, I'm the poster kid! I don't care what the comparisons are, if you don't have money, you don't have money. I just wish I could print it up like the Treasury can.....

    December 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  82. jim

    Not when you show how the people of Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the 3rd world countries live.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  83. James

    Surely I didn't just hear Jack comment that if the economy has improved in 2 years as a result of the adopted agreement between the president and republicans, it would give the democrats a reason to argue that the reduced tax rates should be ended. I realize that an improved economy may make it easier to end the tax cut extensions but to argue that any successful program should be modified or ended despite the success seems backward.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  84. scotty

    Do I feel poor, well you tell me. I work seventy houres a week for striat-time, bearly getting by, it seems everytime I get ahead the Corprotacracy finds a way to screw the working class and put me behind . It truely proves were not a Democracy anymore just a Corprotacracy.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  85. Jeff in NC

    Almost Jack. I'm just getting by and I have a full time job. I don't splurge and I watch my money...watch what I spend. It's going to get worse now, no end in sight. The foxes are guarding the hen house again because as we all know, chickens don't have any nuggets.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  86. Spads

    [In fact the average two income family....] That blew the piece to toilet heaven. I was working thirty years ago, there were no two income "Average Families". You darn right I feel poorer!

    December 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  87. Dennis north Carolina

    no , Jack , but poorer would be correct.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  88. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    Perspective is key. As per the Sheryl Crow lyric, it's not having what you want it's wanting what you've got

    December 8, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  89. Luci

    Nope, I get my Social Security check of $400 and my husbands is $800 a month. We have been married 56 years and have lived through many ups and downs. I hope and pray that the Republicans don't get control and take our livelihood away from us. They may as well shoot us as we wouldn't have anything. They are wanting to play dangerous mind games with people's lives. This could come back to haunt the Republicans. I actually thought I was a Christian. But if you have to be that mean then I guess I'm not. I believe in helping the poor as the rich can fend for themselves.

    December 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  90. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Poor and disillusioned is more like it. American politicians sold the country on the concept of our being a information economy and that we no longer needed manufacturing and heavy industry as if you could drive words and eat sentences. They shipped entire job sectors overseas and then railed at the middle classes demise. It then became difficult to sell even cheap televisions to millions of people who were out of work. This is where we find ourselves today. Now all of those information jobs are being filled by people in India or the Philippines.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  91. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I don't feel poor, but I have a job and we have other income to help out, so we are, in my opinion, a middle-class family. However, the bells and whistles of today's life style are driving me to the poor house.
    I grew up in the 50s and 60s, and I remember when most people didn't have TV nor a telephone. Eating out was getting a candy bar and soda at the store maybe once a month. If I could live now like we lived then I'd be rich, and still wouldn't want for anything.
    Allen
    Hartwell GA

    December 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  92. John from San Antonio

    If you don't, you don't have much longer to wait.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  93. Elizabeth

    Poor, yes. Living check to check with 2 adult with college degrees and 3 kids.The BS that they are handing out that the Americans have tough choices to make is just that BS. We have been doing it. When the word Stratigic Default become a part of your vocabulary. You are poor.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  94. Sam

    No one is poor who has friends.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  95. Peter in Tarrytown, NY

    Do I feel poor? Yes and getting poorer every day.

    I'm a senior citizen mostly getting by on Social Security. I didn't get a COLA raise because the rate of inflation wasn't high enough and food and energy were not a factor in the calculation.

    Rent, food, energy and prescription drugs consume most of my SS check. I can decide to not buy a new shirt, rent a video or go visit my family in Connecticut. I cannot decide to not pay my rent, eat or buy my medicine. I guess I should just stay home and die. That should appeal to conseratives.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  96. Marsha

    Feeling poor? Small Cell Lung Cancer provided me with an unplanned for "retirement:" at the age of 62 - I live on Social Security Disability Income. I not only feel poor - I am poor. But at least I am alive, thought fighting for my life and through a financial nightmare...with no help, of course.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  97. Tillie / Texas

    Yes. I feel poor. Not only do I feel poor, I am poor. Live pay check to pay check. Congress does not have a clue what that feels like since they are over paid with our money.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  98. Molly

    Yes.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  99. Jim - Michigan

    Jack,

    The cost of living has increased and it has done so because govermnet is into far too many things and when you have the government in it the cost simply increases. Take a look at health care, everything that medicare and medicade agrees to cover the price increases 10% or more each year, but those things that the government will not cover, well the price drops year over year. Take lasic surgery as an example, it gets cheaper and cheaper becuase government is not in it.

    If that is not enough, look at higher education, the government pumps billions into it each year and what happens, the cost increases three or more times the inflation rate every year. The government is the problem, when they enter the game the market ignores efficiencies and demand and the cost sky rockets.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  100. Brian

    Jack, I just checked my bank account. I have $800.61 left in my checking. That is all I have to my name right now. I rent of $726.00 is due in two days. I've never had so little. Do I feel poor? Do I have to answer?
    -New York, NY

    December 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  101. Matt Herman

    Poor is relative. I live in an upscale, high income neighborhood where I earn less than most of my friends and neighbors, but compare me to almost anyone else in the country or world, I am in the top 5% of earners. How I feel about my financial situation directly depends upon who I'm with.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  102. Gavin D

    Jack,

    I did everything that society tells us to do. I worked hard, studied, graduated college with my bachelor's degree. The only types of jobs out there aren't real jobs.. just commission only sales jobs that aren't a real way to make a living in New York when you are starting from scratch. This majority of people in this country are so ignorant to the fact that they have been left with the tab from the party of the rich that it's frightening. I'm unemployed and filling out 50 applications a week. I'm qualified and intelligent. Our government needs to get some cajones and start solving problems, you know... what they're elected to do.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  103. Frank in New York

    Yes, I feel poor, especially when I look at how much the creeps on Wall Street who caused this economic mess get paid in salary plus bonus. Many of them belong in prison. Compared to the average Wall Streeter, I'm a peasant, as is the rest of the USA's middle class.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  104. James Witte

    The reasoning for feeling this way is because of the perceived notion that we should receive a substantial education, but when we get out we struggle to find jobs. When we do find that job, then we struggle with making a decent salary.I am currently finishing my Management degree and fear that i will not find employment.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  105. Jaalam Andrews

    I definitely feel poor! I wound up quitting a job when I was under the assumption a definite new job position would be available. Now I have been unemployed for months on end! I am behind in house mortgage, electric, car insurance, etc. bills! And the crazy thing is... I have a college degree!!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  106. Ben

    Poor? Definitely. I'm saddled with college debt in both student loans and in charges. I couldn't afford the wedding, except the family paid for it. We have to cars, one from 86 and one from 02. We couldn't think of buying a new one. I haven't bought any new big ticket items in years, they're all gifts.

    Oh, and I'm recently unemployed. I feel about a month away from the street.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  107. Ronald Sanders

    Nashville TN
    I feel rich, although my wife and I are both disabled. We draw a pension and have most of what we want. We are concerned that Social Security is being threatened. We are politically active and avoid credit. We love our country and support the military. No, poor is not in our vocabulary.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  108. Holly Jewell

    Yes I feel poor! The distribution of wealth has changed so dramatically that after everyone has taken their cut, nothing trickles down anymore.

    Today families are being evicted from their homes after loosing sight of their adjustable rate mortgages and falling prey to foreclosure. These homes are going back to the banks – who we bailed out after they created this financial crisis. In most cases these homes are then sold to investors for cash. The rich are getting richer and the poor are in the street! Welcome to USA's new two-class society!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  109. John Cline Jr.

    Dear Jack,

    Compared to many, I feel Rich! No, I don't live in a mansion or, drive a Bentley but, in the past year, I've been able to take a European Vacation and an Elk Hunting trip to Colorado. I'm also taking a cruise to Mexico, in February.
    Of course, it helps being Single, with no children. I spend most of my money on ME!
    Single And Loving It!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  110. SteveKJR

    No, I don't feel poor because over the years I have continually increased my income.

    I was not part of the culture that worked at the same job for 30 or so years and when fuel prices increased they used their credit cards to pay for it and complained about it..

    I wasn't one of those individuals who went out and spent $45,000 for a new suv, $300,000 for a new house and thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

    The public at large don't know how to deal with their financial situation because all they know is spend, spend, spend and they complain about not being able to afford their what they own or their lifestyle.

    SteveKJR

    Stockbridge, Ga.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  111. Connie O, New Orleans, LA

    Jack
    The financial situation in the country is such that even if your own family is okay you can't help but feel poor in empathy for others. We all know someone is struggling and know we could be next. It's downright scary.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  112. Joe

    Jack,

    I now collect unemployment and am told that after receiving (to date) benefits for 26 weeks, I have less than 20 weeks remaining, so any talk about the glory of extended benefits is all hype. Congress has the best universal health benefits of the nation; yet, I cannot scrape-up enough money to pay for medicine, as I make too much money ... when I realistically do not have a nickel to my name, so if I can be characterized as feeling poor, then the answer is ... yes. My Prospects for the future with a Masters Degree ... unknown! since I have the attitude obtaining a large percentage of employment is ... who you know, rather than what you know or can do.

    I wish us all luck when our politicians have allowed foreign countries, such as China to control our economy.

    Joe, NY

    December 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  113. kathy peoria az

    Yes I feel poor and I want Congress to feel the pain we all have. Maybe than, just maybe if they had to take a pay cut or worse lose their job they may care about the American people. They don't give a hoot about any of us and never will and you can take that to the bank.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  114. Parker Stafford

    I feel poor when I see my government devaluing the U.S. dollar, a relatively secret tax on the American people wherein our government, in collusion with the Federal Reserve, brings the value of our dollar down to where it is relatively worthless compared to what it was worth when the Fed, a private company, was first formed. This is a silent tax that plays on American's ignorance. Everyone should look into this issue in order to get a more rounded understanding of what's at work with America's wealth.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  115. rodburg

    It's not about poor or rich, but u hit the nail on the head, food,water,electricity, transportation, we all need to live and or work,, computers, games,and name brands clothes we dont need. That is the difference one we need to live, the other we can live without. As a typical american citizen i cut back on spending, when i dont have it.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  116. Rick Bezet

    No, I don't feel poor! Although I don't have a huge salary, I just can't feel poor. The average salary in the world is less than $2 a day. On the scale of greed, I may feel poor but on the scale of reality, I feel very rich.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  117. Randy

    i my self am better off now than a few years ago,but on the other hand years back i was the lone wage earner in my family,we had one car, one home phone ,no cable ,sattelite tv,no 50 inch tv,no computer,no broadband,internet fees,i keep hearing how times are hard, but when i look back 30 or 40 years i just dont see it today......

    December 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  118. luke

    dennis from NC:
    more "poor" and most "poor" is correct because jack is asking viewers how they feel comparatively to the concept of being poor, whether they are actually poor or not!!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  119. Wade

    We are poorer for sure. Income has not increased like some say. I don't know what they are looking at but in my industry and industries i am attached to, incomes have not increased in many many years. The max we see are 2% increases per year if that but compared to major increases in house prices (in Canada) as well as costs for daycare, internet, tv. Just these costs cost my family about 1500 a month. If my wife and I were able to live on one income then this would save a bunch but our standard of living would be well below what our parents had. As well we would have to. Basically incomes are basically flat for the last 15 years or more at the same time costs of living have increased quite a bit. This all means that we are becomming poorer and it is showing up in the latest economic slow down. Maybe we can call this the cost of living bubble... its the next one to burst... watch out...

    December 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  120. Santosh

    Nope! I never feel poor because I do not want or buy things that I cannot afford. I have always lived below my means and invested moderately aggressively. Now I am past 65 and on Medicare and get SS. That definitely helps.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  121. Raphael

    $19.47.00 in my Bank Account ..what to you think?..

    Raphael
    Islip N.Y.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  122. Stephanie

    My fiance and I make more than $90,000 per year combined, but we still have virtually no money leftover each month after paying our bills. We have no children, but we pay for a mortgage, car loans, insurance, utilities, credit cards, gas, internet, pets, home maintenance...the list goes on and on. And we're in the military, so we don't pay a dime for health insurance! It's embarrassing to tell people we can't afford something when they know how much we make combined. Americans are nickeled and dimed more and more every year, and I don't expect it to end anytime soon.

    Stephanie
    Clovis, NM

    December 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  123. Victor

    Yes I do Jack; I've been out of work for 20 months with no idea what going to happen next. Unemployment is not middle class. My housing, credits approve & medical is sinking me day in and out.
    Without a job, no one will lend, help you if you get sick (which I am), & my landlord want me out so I can pay higher rents. When will this nightmare end?

    December 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  124. C Hammett

    ...we feel poor because we are poor..as a disabled American, the struggle to stay alive is becoming unbearable...I'd like to snap my fingers and have all the wealthy Gov't folks in this country live like we ( poor folks) have to for a while...on second thought they'll probably just smell the place up............. Disgruntled American

    December 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  125. Debi Elkins Park Pa

    You ask me "Do I feel Poor" I am not sure how long I have to answer this question, but lets put it this way, I have to decide if I should get a haircut or pay for my medicine this month? What the hell is happening?? My son is going to college for $43,000 a year on student loans because one parent works full time the other it still unemployed, therefore we can't afford to send him. Mind you both parents are college graduates! We wanted to visit my folks for Christmas but gas is too high. Need clothes, better wait until next year, maybe the economy will pick up. Need to buy Christmas presents, bah humbug,NO EXTRA MONEY! Maybe I will sell my house,better luck next year! DO I FEEL POOR...YOU BET I DO!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  126. Jeremy

    Jack, I think the additional cost of items that we now count as necessities has stiffled most of our discretionary spending. Cell phone plans, internet plans, cable for television, have all piled onto what is required items for most people. Paying $100 a month for cell phone coverage, $100 a month for cable television, and $50-$100 a month for internet is what's making us feel poor. Our discretionary spending has become our non-discretionary spending.

    If we ever want to dig ourselves out of this mess we'll need a comletely revamped internet system, with free wi-fi available in all public locations, a fully rebounded economy with wage increases, and a new focus on elminating credit card debt. The credit card debt of the average American has grown exponentially since 1980.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  127. John Haines

    No I do not feel poor, I give thanks to God every day. It doesn't have much to do with the political climate, I've been around over 70 years, a middle class worker and guess I've about seen it all. Some people just don't know how to adjust their standard of living, get in over their heads and when they hit a bump in the road they start screaming about they've been done wrong by the politicians,the capitalists,the communists or some other monster. Suck it up people, be responsible and quit your whining!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  128. Rebeckah in Eugene, OR

    I have never had less money, but no, I don't feel poor. My 2 year old son, husband and I are getting by on $1500/month and under $200 in food stamps, which is a quarter of what we use to live on when I worked full time, before we had our baby. Yes, we have to worry about whether we will be able to make our car payment or pay the phone bill, and we never go out, but we have each other, our hobbies, warmth, and a roof over our heads... I have truly never been happier. Although it's a struggle, and my husband and I will not be able to give holiday gifts to each other this year, when I think of the unfortunate people of Haiti or other countries, I would be embarrassed to complain about how "little" I have.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  129. James

    No. I don't feel poor i feel jipped. yes we have more things these days like computers and cellphones. but they are low quality products with a nice paint job.I have had to buy new dressers and tables for my house about every 5 years due to wear and tear. where my Parents still have the tables and furniture that I grew up using. today you can't find that kind of craftsmanship for the price that they paid for theirs.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  130. Dave

    Jack,

    Not right now.

    But having just retired we fear our money my not keep up 10 to 15 years from now.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  131. Brandon Young

    I grew up poor in Philadelphia, and have basically been so all my life. I have made $6,000 a year for the past 5 years, and have just gotten a new job making $26,000 a year. Not only do I feel rich, I am honestly on the verge of a spending spree.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  132. Lydia

    Yes, I feel poor. I have all but the oral defense of a PhD (though I only list my MA on my resume) and years of experience in a variety of fields. I'm underemployed and work two jobs, have sublet rooms in the house I rent, and it still is not enough. I became ill in September and had to go on state disability (I'll be back on the job in January), and means less income. Add to that all the medical bills not covered by insurance and I simply do not have enough money to cover the basics (and I do not spend money on anything else). I cannot get food stamps because I just a little bit too much. I have looked for other jobs that would support me; but, Northern California where I live has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Jack, I'm 60 years old and have supported myself all my adult life. For the first time, I am seriously considering bankruptcy – something I never imagined. So, do I feel poorer. Yes. But it's more than a feeling. It's reality.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  133. Tom Milot

    I don't feel poor, I feel vulnerable. Vulnerable thanks to corporations that don't look a 5 years out, but 5 days out and react to the bottom line like a baby does to a bottle. Vulnerable to the legal theft of our savings by unscrupulous wall street brokers and a government that allows these thefts to go unpunished. Poor ? But very vulnerable. to that reality. FroM: Tom, from your hometown, Jack.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  134. Nelson Aquino

    It seems like now more than ever its harder to make ends meet for a lot us little guys. Many people are on the edge of homelessness even in multiple breadwinner families. The problem is larger then that, because American culture is about who has the biggest TV on the block, even if that means breaking the bank. I think the American people need a reality check in the savings department. We spend it when we have it, and cry about not saving when we don't. Once Americans learn the hard lesson of humility we will be able to move on to bigger and better things, this "recession" is a dose of the medicine we need to get better.

    – Nelson from Miami

    December 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  135. Laura

    I don't feel poor. I AM poor. A panhandler started giving me a hard time the other day. "I have nothing! I have nothing!" he screamed. And all I could say in response was, "Then you're better off than me, pal, because I'm in debt."

    December 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  136. William Gavin

    Jack,
    most of the things you listed like computers,games etc. are
    not necessary and if I can't afford them they will go.
    we live in a dream sometimes and we need yo wake up.
    We all in this country should feel rich.
    Just look around the world.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  137. Peggy

    Jack, I feel blessed in so many ways, I am on a fixed income and yet, I have a roof over my head and food on the table, I have a healthy family. That is wonderful,I love them and they love me.
    I am warm and dry and sleep in my own bed every night,
    So, in all of those ways, I am not poor.
    But, financially, I like so many others, feel like I am sliding down a hill made of butter.
    The bills pour in, and the groceries get more expensive as does gas for the car. It becomes a challenge (more and more every month) to get to the first of the next month and in this way...yes, as a 62 year old person, I feel poor and worried.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  138. David ; Cincinnati, Ohio

    Do I feel poor? Yes. My wife and I were walking through the grocery store last week and I spotted a bottle of wine we purchased on a regular basis in the past. I paused, and tried to rationalize picking up the $10.00 bottle. I could not. Disappointed, I kept walking. I looked at my wife and said " When did we become poor?"

    December 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  139. Conor in Chicago

    I have a job that pays around 55K. I don't have any kids, and am not terribly into "junk". As a result I just booked a vacation to New Orleans, am going to a BlackHawks game in a few weeks and will also be getting a new couch in the next few months. The point? I'm the new rich. This isn't your father's America any more....

    December 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  140. david bidlack

    No i don't feel poor but i do think i am going to become very poor. I live on a fixed income and feel like my 40 year investment in social sucerity of about %13 of my income if you count my employers contrbution is some how at risk because we have renamed it an "unfunded intitalment". the unfunded is a lie that people except now as truth . My wife also worked but we can only draw an amount based on who had the higher income so her pay in with her employer match is nothing but a gift i guess. i am sure i am going to be poor so i do look at the want adds and hope i can find someone to hire me along with the pace maker in my chest. i am a baby boomer who with others my age has paid the biggest share of the taxes for the last 40 years and now has become nothing more than a budget problem and an american burden that i am sure the republicans are going to fix very soon! they could not even help today with $250 they voted against so what makes people think they won't cut the people who are drawing social sucerity right now.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  141. Dale

    Yes I feel poor. I crunched the numbers from my Dad's take home pay from the mid 60's and what he provided our family of 5 with. If I wanted to live his lifestyle as mine I couldn't. He took home about $500 a month back then and if someone were to want the lower middle class lifestyle we had then it would require a take home wage of $75.00 per hour. The differences lay in the cost of living vs. wages. I don't see any relief for the American worker what-so ever. My father was a Campus cop for the City of los Angeles (a security guard) To rear a family like he did on what he made, ratio wise, is just not on the table of todays labor market. Corporate greed has crushed family values.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  142. bruce

    Inflation is here – it is real – thank the private banking consortium, the Federal Reserve for this and every devaluation of the dollar. They appreciate the transfer of wealth, from you to them. Happy Holidays!

    December 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  143. James from Idaho

    Jack, I will feel poor if this deal passes as it is. Merry Christmas Mr. Scrooge, I guess paying your fair share of taxes is too much to ask and the republicans think your'e too big to fail.

    This xhritmas teh phrase bah humbug will be replaced by... chickencrap.

    James
    Idaho

    December 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  144. Ralph Spyer

    My country is in bad shape, I live in the best of times ;this is not the America i grew up in

    December 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm |