NYT analysis: While wealthiest Americans outpace the world, U.S. middle-class no longer the world's richest
An analysis by The NEW YORK TIMES confirms or corroborates what many Americans already instinctively feel: The U.S. middle-class is regressing, compared to some other major industrialized countries.
This has to be a slap in the face for many of us. We already labor for more hours - and take fewer vacation days - than many of our counterparts in major industrialized countries.
Another paradox: Overall economic growth in these United States remains strong, compared to many other countries. But the middle & lower classes aren't getting the spoils.
(In fairness, the overall European outlook is hardly rosy, and the income figures have stagnated in Germany.)
This latest analysis should fuel the political debate over income redistribution and taxing the rich. Top U.S. executives earn considerably more than their foreign counterparts. The U.S. minimum wage pales in comparison to some of these other countries and labor unions have obviously lost their previous proportion of workers.
Of course, Canadians experienced a more mild recession than we did, in part, because common-sense Canadian banks didn't go off the deep end with exotic derivatives.
Naturally, this analysis from The NEW YORK TIMES has critics trying to poke holes. As you might expect, those holes involve health-care and taxation. (But I notice these critiques hardly ever seek to rebut the disproportionately higher compensation for U.S. corporate executives, nor the undeniable fact that U.S. workers have labored for more hours and fewer vacation days and holidays than their foreign counterparts, not to mention fewer wage increases, in fact, give-backs in many cases...)
Allan, I saw that piece from the NYT last night while surfing the web. Thanks for sharing it this morning.
Yep, I believe most of us already know it's happening, but it was interesting to see it spelled out, so that the TEA/G.O.P. folks might understand, and finally take their blinders off. Naturally, the ultra-rich Steve Forbes and company want to shift the blame to Obamacare and Taxation.
Funny, folks like Mr. Forbes are paying some of the lowest tax rates in American history while making the largest salaries EVER in American history, while the rest of us continue to decline as our salaries do not keep up, and in many cases, have been/are shrinking, to the point that now the rest of the industrialized world's middle-classes are better off than the American middle class. In spite of this, Forbes has the nerve or the brass "monkey's" to blame taxation and Obamacare??? He must be a student of that "new math" where 2+3=7.
This issue shows why we do need SOME government regulations, rules, and laws. If not, members of the Robber Baron class will simply "rape and pillage" the economy for their gain, and no one who's paid attention since the "glory days" of Ronald Reagan's terms as Prez will truthfully say that Trickle-Down Economics works for all. Nope, Trickle-Down ONLY works for the wealthy - they look out for their own. The ONLY thing that trickles down is........well you know.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 8:53am
Mike: I read this story on Drudge last night too...but please tell me who has been president for the past 5 years?
It was under this president that the middle-class has been DECIMATED; the poor are worse off than ever, and the uber-rich .001% are making huge amounts of money. This president has helped those same uber-wealthy that he constantly demonizes as the evil 1% and left the middle- class holding the bill for the debt of the nation.
IF you actually look at who is running for Tea Party positions in 2014 you will see that they are NOT backed by the uber-rich... yes, the "evil" Libertarian Koch Brothers (yes they are LIBERTARIANS) do support many Tea Party candidates but their monetary support - compared to funding from Soros, Bloomberg, and many other billionaires - supporting the Democrat and Republican Progressives, is but a drop in the ocean. The .001%ers are backing establishment candidates who will "play ball" and "work with them" in the future...
We need a Calvin Coolidge or Ronald Reagan-type president to fix this huge mess made by H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W.Bush and 0bama...at least that's how the political cycle has gone so far.
Coolidge repaired much of the damage from Woodrow Wilson (the original Progressive) and Reagan repaired our nation that was decimated by Nixon and Jimmy Carter.
The closest Reagan-type I see for 2016 is Governor Perry and the closest Coolidge-type I see is Governor Scott Walker... both have Tea Party support but neither are "Tea Partiers"...like Cruz or Rand Paul.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 9:07am
"We need a Calvin Coolidge or Ronald Reagan type president to fix this huge mess made..." --EarlGrey
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!! I can't believe people still believe that Reagan FIXED things! Trickle-down economics doesn't work!!!!! If it did, the middle-class would be in good shape now, because of how rich members of the upper-class are. But they're keeping it all to themselves. It's been proven over and over in the past 30 years... Reagan's economic policies only benefit the people who already have money. Move on, Earl.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 9:34am
Earl: The policies of the Coolidge years are what gave us the great depression. No, thanks.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 10:05am
Shawn: Really? Reagan's economic policies helped the middle-class, and our current leader is decimating this group (I'm in that group)... Five years under Barack, and we are still in a stagnant recession and even deeper in debt...Keynesian economics DO NOT WORK!
Yeah, I do think we need to "move on" and elect a non-Progressive president this time around.
bill: Not true...if you have info that backs up your claim, then post it here.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 10:09am
EarlGrey: I'll agree with one point you made, that it has continued under Obama, but that train left the station 30+ years ago during the Reagan years when trickle-down economics started. Granted the Carter years weren't a picnic either, as we had double-digit inflation, but all Americans suffered during those years. But this era of the rich-get-richer and the rest of us get left behind and get what crumbs are left, started with Reaganomics.
Reagan had his good points, such as knowing how to deal with the Soviets, but he stunk at economics for the working-class American. In a perfect world, Reaganomics should have worked, but in the real world, for it to work would require government regs to make that happen [to force the wealthy to pass it on], and Mr. Reagan wasn't in favor of that. So he only implemented the part of the plan where the rich get the perks, and hoped they'd be generous enough to pass it on to the rest of us. We saw how well that worked. He obviously never heard of the Robber Barons of the past late 1800's and early 1900's.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 10:34am
Earl suffers memory loss... Trying to blame the economy on Obama - when it has been the Republican House that has done nothing, absolutely nothing to help the economy - is like trying to blame Marilyn Monroe for Elton John becoming gay...
There is simply no connection... Only someone who does not care about reality, and only someone who wants to get rid of Obama and can't - so they make stuff up - would ever stoop to changing the real truth so much, to embarrass himself in public by stating what already everyone knows is a blatant falsehood...
Try looking at economic figures... The rest of us all do so when you contradict them, you come across looking plain dumb. Obviously, robust economic growth would have returned to high levels faster, had the Republicans not cut back on government spending....
Republicans are as stupid as George Washington's doctors... When he "took a chill" they hooked him up to leeches... When he was unable to bounce back due to lack of blood, they saw him getting sicker, so applied more leeches... When that didn't work, they desperately applied even more... George Washington simply died from lack of blood....
That is the stupidity endemic in every Republican who panders to the wealthy writers of checks, and completely ignores the middle-class because now that they are broke, they no longer have spare cash to give....
Anything Republican sets America backwards... And only people who are jokes, even dare today to say otherwise....
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 10:38am
Earl... Keynesian Economics built and ran America from 1932 to 2000....
Reaganomics, in its pure form, tore down the middle-class in 14 short years...
What pipe are you smoking?
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 11:10am
kavips: IF your "greatest president ever ever" isn't responsible for the current economic conditions of our country, does that mean G.W. Bush wasn't either? LOL! You can't deflect the blame from this president and onto the Republicans...0bama broke it, 0bama owns it! That's the way it works...the president gets credit for good and blame for things that go bad under his administration.
Mike: Reagan was far from perfect (this is true of all politicians and all humans) but I believe he had the right priorities/mindset for what government is and what it is supposed to do (using the Constitution as his guide). The main priority of government is the protection of U.S. citizens...that is why he built up our military (Peace through Strength). And, for the economy, look at history...what condition was our country in during the Carter Years? Under Carter the Misery Index was created, unemployment skyrocketed, inflation rates also skyrocketed and our military was drastically weakened. Compare what Reagan did for our economy vs. what 0bama did with the economy he inherited from Bush.
Conservative Republicans view the government as a machine that is supposed to be run by "the people", Progressive Republicans and Democrats view government as a living entity that gives us rights. We are (as noted in the Declaration of Independence) given our rights from our Creator...not the government.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 11:19am
Correction to my post...The Misery Index was not created during the Carter administration, it simply had the highest number.
All this sniping about your favorite presidents misses the point. The "middle-class" way of life that we enjoyed from the post-war (WWII) years up until the recent recession will not be coming back. Well-paying factory and manufacturing jobs requiring minimal education, cheap fossil fuels, lack of competition from other countries, commitments to investing in infrastructure - all these, and probably more factors, are gone.
I saw a starting salary survey on Forbes recently (for college graduates). Engineering, computer science, business all commanded the top salaries. Fields that require lots of education and/or lots of particular talents. High-school graduate? You'll make about 1/2 of what a college graduate will make, and a third of a doctor will make. (http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm)
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 11:56am
I think Dunmore just nailed it.
That said - from my vantage point - the deregulatory climate fostered since Jimmy Carter & Ronald Reagan exacerbated and accelerated the decline, and Ronnie's "Morning in America" only conveniently delayed Americans tackling some of our shortcomings.
I've covered in this blog before how the popular culture undermines academic achievement in this country...
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 12:45pm
dunmore: I agree with you that the same type of manufacturing/factory jobs of years past (like Detroit) will not be coming back, but I disagree that manufacturing and good middle-class jobs are all gone...they are only gone in certain parts of the country. Look around the country at right-to-work states, and that is where these middle-class jobs have relocated.
BTW, we could have cheap fuel IF we wanted it...
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 1:08pm
Earl - Yes, manufacturing is not totally gone in the U.S., but these jobs requiring minimal education are going fast. Here is a nice chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the number of people working in manufacturing jobs going from 22% to 10% of the U.S. work force in the period from 1980 to 2010.
"But the long-run picture is clear. Manufacturing jobs will never again hold the central place in our economy that they once did. At the same time, lots of other sectors — health care, professional services — will continue to become more important, and will continue to offer good, middle-class jobs. But those jobs will not, for the most part, be open to high-school dropouts."
I think you inadvertently made an argument for the other side.
Remember, this NEW YORK TIMES analysis is about middle-class wages stagnating in the United States, which has allowed middle-classes in other countries to leap ahead of the United States.
So, what happens when "middle-class" jobs move to right-to-work states in Dixie? Wages and benefits drop. (Granted, the cost-of-living may also be lower in some of these places, but critics would say this represents a race to the bottom.) And at what point do some of those "middle-class" jobs stop being middle-class, and tumble to what we might call lower-middle-class or lower working-class? Finally, when factories in the South have outlived their usefulness, those jobs get exported further south -- to Mexico, and even Central America.
When VW workers in Chattanooga recently voted against unionization, the irony remained that their German colleagues were already making substantially more.
And as evidence of how greater regulation can actually SAVE an economy, one of the reasons Canada suffered a much milder recession - despite being the biggest trading partner to the U.S. - was Canadian banks constrained from gambling on exotic financial instruments.
And once again, Dunmore is right on about the disappearance of jobs requiring a minimal education. A lot of those jobs can be mechanized.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 1:40pm
The answer seems to be better educating our youth so they can qualify for those good paying jobs.
Sadly, our youth culture seems embrace the anti-learning, anti-reading, anti-thinking, anti-studying, etc. It's not cool to do well in school [seems the "Ghetto culture" is what seems to be the prodominant style popular with American youth of all colors]. Many minority kids who try to do well also try to hide it so they aren't accused of acting "white" and catching grief out on the streets. How sad and what a waste of brain power that kids of all colors have.
White kids wanting to be cool too do the same thing, because it's just as unacceptable in their world to be a geek. One thing hasn't changed in the Teen World, being cool and accepted is the most important thing. So if the "cool kids" think school is a drag and you're some how a mental defective for wanting to do well in school, then sadly many kids will blindly follow along and not be prepared to even go to college should the opportunity present itself.
Somehow, we as a society, need to change that attitude among the youth so that the cool kids are the one's who do well in school. After all, they're the one's who'll be driving a great car, living in a great big house in a really nice neighborhood, with plenty of money to spend on stuff, etc, etc. Why should the loser kids be considered cool?? They'll end up hustling burgers at McDonald's for their career or getting into crime, etc.
Dunmore is correct the old style factory jobs of the past are just that, in the past. The work force must be brought into the 21st century or our nation will continue to slid further down the scale into second class status.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 2:33pm
I agree that the old factory-type jobs (with minimum education) are gone (as I implied by citing Detroit)... manufacturing has morphed as technology has advanced. An interesting history note on the auto industry's manufacturing jobs moving to Dixie... back in Detroit's heyday, the auto companies hired tons of workers from Dixie... no, the auto industry has moved South and the generations of families who moved to the Motor City decades ago have no jobs in the North.
We need to better prepare our "kids" for jobs that will exist when they graduate rather than jobs that exist now (or in the past). STEM is a good start but I truly believe we should also encourage more apprenticeship programs... good/reliable electricians, mechanics, and plumbers (Middle Class jobs yes?) are still highly needed and well-paying jobs.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 2:37pm
Mike from Delaware: That's part of my point:
Part of corporate America reaps profits from entertainment we might call anti-academic and anti-intellectual, while another part of corporate America laments over the lack of young Americans who've excelled in academic pursuits, particularly in the technical fields.
I indict the stockholder-driven economic model. As long as corporate CEOs and their lieutenants are judged purely on quarterly and longer-term profits - with absolutely no consideration to the "bigger picture" for the country's future - this sad state of affairs will persist, and drag down this country.
Similarly, the very same short-term, profit-driven mentality drives America's race to the bottom.
This is why politicians and much of the business class pushes "No Child Left Behind", "Race to the Top", CORE curriculum, etc. - realizing the widening gap for U.S. academic competitiveness - but, of course, those things create their own problems.
In my view, a narrow line exists between accountability and excessive testing, "teaching to the test". And an entire testing bureaucracy worries about its own short-term profits.
Another narrow line exists between teaching academic, and especially technical, subjects - needed for U.S. competitiveness - and turning our young people into unthinking automatons for U.S. corporations. Plus, in the end, critical thinking and teaching outside the box have stimulated America's competitive position in the past. (That's one of the main problems with the Chinese model, and one of the reasons the Chinese copy and steal many Western innovations, rather than developing their own from scratch.)
And I don't disagree with Mr. Grey's latest comments.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 5:10pm
First off, most people politicians (and newsies) like to call "middle-class" are working class. Making enough to buy a house and car does not make a trash collector or an assembly-line worker middle-class. Working class is a state of mind. The Brits understand class even if people here do not.
What goes unmentioned here is the decline in upward mobility. People today are less likely to achieve a higher socio-economic status than their parents or grandparents. There is less opportunity. Thank the one-percenters for that.
Lots of young people today have gotten educations which qualify them for professional, managerial, and technical jobs but the jobs are not there - at least not enough of them. So, you have educated young people working at McDonald's and struggling to pay off the debt they have run up getting themselves educated because they were promised education offers a better life.
And the one-percenters keep talking about job creation and then move jobs - and money - offshore. The elite keeps getting richer at the expense of the real middle-class and the working class (that has been told they are middle-class).
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 9:08pm
Bill beat me to his point that manufacturing jobs are not contingent on education...
The point has been repeatedly made, that our manufacturing jobs did not flee to rural China, Thailand, Philippines, India, Bangladesh,Pakistan, Malaysia, Brazil, and all others because of those area's high levels of education.... They are there because those people will work for far less than will we...
Those manufacturing jobs are only there because it is cheaper to build there, hire there, pollute there, transport it back here, and sell it, than it is to make it here. If you made every single American a brilliant engineer, still today you would be sitting on 6% unemployed, all of them engineers, and a large number of them working far beneath their abilities....
Brilliant education does not grow jobs... In fact it chases them away because those well-trained students learned they were too smart to work for peanuts and an occasional pistachio tossed their way....
So now that we know what the core of the problem is, how can we fix it...
One, profits overseas must be taxed at a higher rate. America is one of the only countries that does not tax profits made overseas. In all of the EU nations, if Nestle makes money here, it it taxed over there. We are the major economic power that doesn't.... We say, "Oh, you made it over there? Ok, it can be taxed... over there".
The easiest way to achieve this is to raise all corporate taxes and then offer a tax discount if they manufacture here.
Second. Tax the wealthy appropriately and with that almost unbelievable amount of money currently cycling outside our economy, begin creating demand .... As an example... Hire manual laborers at $30,000 a year to walk up all our rivers and pick up trash... One, we get a service... clean waterways, but most importantly all those will start buying things and create demand... (The same result would happen if the wealthy chose to do it directly but that won't happen so we must use the tool of government to make it so..)
Imagine if every grocery store in Delaware made $100,000 more? Imagine if every gas station in Delaware made $100,000 more? Imagine if every store in Delaware made $100,000 more? That is what these job programs do... Grow demand and people make money and spend it, growing even more demand... The next year: $200,000!
The best way to do this is attach a penalty on wealth... If you make too much, you lose it, so you had better bury it into the economy if you wish to keep it....
This forces the top echelon to instead of putting a $trillion dollars in stocks, they put that $trillion into new stores, new broadband, new satellites, etc.. If they ever need cash, instead of selling those pieces of paper, they can sell solid objects... You sell a company. The jobs you built still stay.
Education is good. Of course we want all our children to do well. The only way to bust what Allan correctly points out is an American cultural icon, that we play in our schools, is to make them a priority in our culture, using all the tools one must to make it happen...
Waving a magic wand won't do. Nor will wringing our hands.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 8:34am
Kavips and Billsmith: I agree with you guys that those factory jobs we all lament having exited from the U.S. were jobs that did not require a college degree to do or to get, back in the day. Those jobs created our middle-class, and provided millions of Americans with good-paying jobs.
Sadly, many companies today require a four-year degree for many jobs that don't require college either, but without that degree, you'll not be qualified and the job will be given to someone else. Thus, my point about education above. Today's kids need more than a high school diploma; they need that college degree to get many lower-level jobs.
Even McDonald's requires a HS diploma for McDonald's full-time-adult-over-age 18 workers. Sorry, I probably didn't express this clearly in my earlier post.
It could be argued that the reason those companies demand a college degree for such low-level jobs is because the HS diploma from today's public schools is not worth the paper it's printed on. So, to get quality employees who can read and do simply math, etc., they've decided to demand a college education. From what I've read, many kids entering college today must take remedial classes of "things you should have learned while in school if you had paid attention" before they can take actual college level courses. This implies there is something lacking in today's public-school high-school diploma that wasn't an issue 40 years ago.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 8:40am
It appears we all agree that our country needs to actually start "making stuff" again rather than outsourcing everything and producing nothing. In case Americans haven't noticed the prices for the "cheap" products we import continue to go up as the quality goes down.
So, how can we get back to the basics if Common Core takes over? We need to encourage "out of the box" thinking rather than turning our kids into little "smart robots" ...as Mr. Loudell pointed out China is excellent at COPYING the inventions of others but not so good at actually inventing anything new. That is where America has thrived...new technology has largely come from this country, but if entrepreneurs/small businesses are overtaxed/over-regulated, then why should anyone try anything new or risk failure?
I do agree with kavips that businesses which create jobs/products here in the U.S. should be rewarded for doing so with tax breaks... just as many states are currently doing to lure businesses to their states.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 2:08pm
One more example of how we can rebuild this economy which I thought about as I crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge into Jersey, and did that thing where you plan your next moves if the bridge were to suddenly fall into the water...
If we chose to rebuild our infrastructure, rebuild every bridge, we would have to make that steel domestically. It would be cost-prohibitive to bring all that in from Asia.
That would give life to an old-fashioned industry for 30 to 40 years....
That would also entail taxing the top 1% appropriately, since we certainly wouldn't want to go into debt again, after finally turning the corner and now pulling ourselves out......
Again. It is about demand. And the government has a role to create that... Then, private businesses could again proper...
As a sidenote, we could do the same with armaments in a classic Adam Smith Guns versus Butter analogy, but I'd rather rebuild bridges... I'm getting too old for a surprise swim.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 6:43pm
Earl: With all due respect, we do need "robots" to work the assembly line and the loading dock - to make stuff. We need "out-of-the-box" thinkers to invent, create, and improve stuff. The problem is the political and media-induced myth that anybody can be an out-of-the-box thinker and should go to college. Not everybody wants to be a creative type. There's an old movie called "Stairway to Heaven" where an angel is giving a new arrival the tour and they see rows and rows of desks with the clerks who record everything that happens on Earth. The new arrival is surprised at all the file clerks and the angel says, "for some people, being a clerk is their idea of heaven." For some people, a skilled trade or steady work in a factory with good pay and benefits is their idea of heaven - and spending time in a classroom to developing critical thinking skills is close to hell.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 8:42pm
I'd sure like to see how Dunmore would like it if the federal government came in and imposed draconian regulations on HIS business.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 7:12am
Pizza, what type of regulations?
We are a "small" company, by which I mean that we have few employees and our gross sales aren't huge. As a small business, we are not subject to many state and federal rules, such as pollution and gross sales tax.
We have made a choice, however, not to use hazardous chemicals, nor sell them. We carry liability and disability insurance for our employees. We fund a 401(k) and pay for health care. We are not ISO 9000 because we have neither the time nor money to go through the registration process.
I'll be away for a few days so I can answer questions next week.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 7:59am
Pizza: Draconian? Regulations to protect workers from exploitation and the everyone who breathes the air and drinks the water are not draconian. But I suppose your idea of draconian is the health department telling you that you must wash your hands after going to the bathroom (and before making pizzas).
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 11:44am
dunmore: Does your company actually manufacture/make anything?...or is it all engineering? It's those who make things that seem to feel the most effects from regulations...or if you are involved in agriculture in any way. Farmers are about to be forced to "contain" the methane gases emanated from their livestock...that's insane and will begin to bankrupt the small-scale farmers. Only the large-scale farmers will survive...just as only large-scale banks are able to survive the new banking regs. Small/local banks are rapidly disappearing as are the small/local farms.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 11:56am
bill: I agree with you on your point that we are all individuals and all have different ideas on what a great job is for ourselves.
That's why we need to encourage the natural interests and aptitudes of today's students if we truly want them (and our nation) to thrive.
We need the entrepreneurs, the scholars, the "robots" and the tradesmen/women for the system to properly work...there is no one-size-fits-all education system; therefore, we need to stop wasting taxpayer's money on Common Core/No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top and let the local schools/communities solve the education problems in their local area.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 1:07pm
“What we see here today, this is the new story about manufacturing in America,” said U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA).
“We remember many many years where the story was all the lost jobs, the lost work, the manufacturing that went somewhere else.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the process of a renaissance in American manufacturing, and no state is contributing more to that renaissance than Pennsylvania,” said Toomey.
Looks like Pennsylvania understands bringing manufacturing back to our country.
The CBC has a piece taking issue with the Times analysis:
Canada vs. U.S. middle class: What the New York Times missed
'It's just one data set,' an economist says
An analysis piece in the venerable New York Times declaring that Canada's middle class is now better off than the middle class in the U.S. has certainly generated headlines across this country. But not all analysts are convinced the report tells the whole story.
Billsmith: Just want to point out the reason Canada's middle class is better off than the American middle class. It's a five letter word spelled O-B-A-M-A.
Mon, Apr 28, 2014 8:26am
mrpizza: I agree that under this administration the Middle Class is being crushed but another reason Canada's Middle Class is doing better than ours is the Canadian government didn't have Frank-Dodd...a large part of the housing collapse goes back to those two and too much government involvement (Fannie/Freddie).
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 3:32pm
Back in DE after a few days in the Adirondacks with no TV, no cell phone, no Wi-fi. It was very relaxing.
Pizza: my company does a lot of manufacturing, and a lot of reselling. I don't find the regulations too "draconian". Just the cost of doing business.
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