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‘Kick It Down’ Iowa Woman Says to The Rich Who Keep Getting Richer

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Labor Day parades can be a day for labor unions to try to show their value to American workers. The parades also bring attention to the workforce. And employees along the Des Moines Labor Day parade route said they don't feel like they are getting ahead in life like they once did.

Laurie and Jerry Stephens keep an optimistic view of their lives with their two children these days. Laurie said, "We're not doing too bad...I don't know...What do you think?" she asked her husband.

Jerry replied, "I think things could definitely be a lot worse."

But the Stephens, who say they both work, know too many people getting little or no raises, making them feel like families haven't really recovered from the 2007 Great Recession. And economists figure that bleak economic period actually officially ended in 2009.

A survey from the liberal think tank, The Economic Policy Institute, found only people making in the 80th percentile are actually seeing their real wages improving since 2007. That takes into account factors like pay raises and inflation. A person needs to make $29.54 per hour or $61,443.00 a year to reach that level.

That means four out of five people either aren't making gains or are actually losing ground financially when it comes to their real wages.

"Kick it down," Laurie Stephens said, "Kick it down to the little guy because we're working every day to make ends meet."

Stephens said her hope is that politicians convince the company bosses that it is time to start thinking of the lower and middle class again. And to make sure politicians remember what it's like to be concerned about their weekly paychecks, Stephens has an idea. "I think the politicians should be unemployed for a while," she said.

Yearly raises are increasing, according to a survey, although they are still not as high as they were before the Great Recession. The survey found average increases to be around 3% in 2014. But that is 1-2% lower than what they used to typically be.


  • Oslow Trane

    Lauries thinking is what is wrong with most people. They look to the government (politicians) to solve their problems. What they don’t realize is that government is the problem, the main reason that most people in that income range are stagnant. It is not about company management “kicking it down” to the middle class its the government policies regarding tax and doing business is causing everything to cost more for everyone.

  • John Dean Heidenreich

    Redistribution of wealth is not the answer. Why don’t you get off your duff Laurie and make it happen? Develope something that everyone can use or needs and you’ll be one of those ‘”rich people” that you’re complaining about.

  • maple

    I’m with Laurie. It’s funny as heck that the majority of people that complain about that Big bad government are usually retirees, disability recipients and farmers and others that get government “subsidies”. Funny when the poor get gov. money it’s called welfare, when the rich get gov. money it’s called subsidies lol.

  • Mike Cee

    Ms. Stephens,
    Rather than us kicking it down, why don’t you kick yourself up? Improve your job skills, improve your education, and take responsibility for yourself instead of asking someone else to “kick it down” to you.
    I can promise you that there is a lot of opportunity for higher wages. Many people simply don’t have the drive and are not willing to do what it takes to go after it.

    • BrutallyHonest

      We can bust our humps to “kick” ourselves up, but its the CEO’s and top execs that reap the rewards of the work that gets done. I work for a VERY large corporatio, certainly not in an entry level position, and am lucky if we see AT MOST a 2% raise in a years time. Now, the company i work for boasts each quarter about how good their earnings are and how much they are up quarter over quarter, but do you think that the great performance of the business is because of a CEO or top execs who see the large bonuses and raises, or is it because of the hard work and long hours that the employees put in? Of course its the employees making it happen, but the CEO’s and top execs are seeing the rewards from that hard work.
      Minimum wage is something else that needs to be addressed. I believe the minimum wage was set at $7.25% in 1997 ( may be off by a couple years ). Now look at inflation and the increase in the cost of living, they dont match up. Gas alone has gone up over 300%, which in turn has caused every other good or service to go up in cost. I get tired of all the talk about, well kick yourself up or work harder and get a better paying job. Show me where those better paying jobs are at, i believe i saw something that stated that we have gained all the jobs back that were lost during the recession, the problem is that the majority of those jobs are minimum wage jobs. Its companies taking advantage of the workers, they new people were desperate for jobs, there was an abundance of applicants, so you pay them less because you know they will take whatever job they can get. Something has to give.

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