Another Day....Another $7.53 That's right! $7.53 whew wee! That's the average dollar amount 39% of the people who live in my county have after getting paid and paying their normal bills at the end of the week. Swish that around for a minute, $7.53 man what I could do with that kinda money boggles the mind. For the sake of simplicity let's round that number up to Ten Bucks. Funny thing, but ten bucks used to mean something not so long ago. Today you can eat at a fast food joint for $10 ( which for every dollar spent eating that kinda food you will pay $3 in health care costs related to your poor eating habits later in life), you can buy 2 gals of gas, you can buy 2 packs of cheap cigarettes.
Does it really take an economist to figure this out. It really is simple. Stuff has increased in price to improve profits but wages have stayed the same or in many cases gone down, once again to improve profits. Almighty greed has kicked our butts and we have stood by and let it happen with nothing more out of us than a slight whimper.
It really was not long ago when your Homestead Exemption used to cover all or a large portion of your tax bill. Your average priced house was $20,000 to $40,000 and we had lots of parks, good schools, nice beaches and a lot less homeless people. Around this same time a good car was $5,000 Now I'm sorry to drag us all down memory lane but it's near impossible to correct or examine what is wrong now without looking back and seeing where it started. When was the big change? Who was in charge and was there a defining moment in time?
The time was the 80's, the leader was Reagan and yes there was a defining moment in time when the unraveling started. At the time I was a young republican and remember it very clearly. Our leader had promised to to do something about poverty. Well he did something alright, he sealed the fate of generations to come. The poverty line (which has always been a bit of a joke but a needed figure so budgets could be made and implemented) was around $10,000 If you made that or less you were poor, you could get food stamps or help, you didn't have to pay much tax and in general you were considered someone who needed a leg up. Just a side note, if you were in the military service at that time and were a E-4 or lower, which comprises the bulk of the services, your take home pay was between $7,000 and $10,000, yes you were poor.
What happened next still haunts us today. The administration changed the poverty line to $6,000 That is moving the line 40% lower. Reagan went on national TV about 3 months later and announced poverty was down almost 40% and people cheered, treating him like a hero! This scam of numbers sent ripples that turned into hurricane force waves. Over night practically, homes that were $40,000 were now $60,000 to $80,000 A Buick Cutlass that went for $8,000 now went for $14,000 and on and on. Don't take my word for it, it is all a matter of public record. It just takes some digging.
We drove the poor further into the ground and in the same swift move, drove our personal property values artificially higher and higher. Our poor not only never recovered but because of our overwhelming greed we sent millions more into poverty with our actions that followed. We all are to blame for letting this happen but I love the stern faces from the more conservative folk who continue to say, "we tax too much" and "we should spend less". They are right we should spend less on stupid stuff like our bloated military and redundant government positions, but we need to spend more on human life. If your health is so poor due to poverty, there is no pursuing happiness, there is only dying in debt, sick and alone. What good is freedom if your dead?
The righteous indignation act needs to go. It has been played out and is doing none of us any good. I don't care how well off you are or how poor you are. We all serve each other. It's the only way to make it all work. Nothing will ever be perfect but acting more like humans rather than flesh eating viruses would be a good start.
I don't pretend to have all the answers but I know throwing the poor under the bus and backing up is not the answer. Ignoring the problem is not the answer. Refusing to compromise is not the answer. Looking back is key but going back or living in the past is self-destructive. What we have now is not capitalism it's legalized slavery of the body and our minds. Every manipulation of the market that can be done is attempted and has become a evil work of art for the shakers and movers. Regulated capitalism works when coupled with an unmanipulated democracy. Once greed takes hold it's like heroin, you almost have to die to get rid of it. Do we really want to go through another bubble burst? Because the next one will make this one look like amateur night on the local gong show!
Once we begin to take care of the least among us we will once again be a nation to look toward for leadership. For now the mentality of every man for himself will continue to rip apart us apart. Only we can stand up and say no more, stop and move forward together. Is it really that hard to make that day today? Make ten bucks mean something again!
But hey! What do I know, I'm just a plumber!