Trump caved on the shutdown! That’s the current ‘hair-on-fire’ message. That’s the news. Roger Stone was arrested and he won’t ‘rat’ on the president – no matter what! That’s in the news, too. Kim Kardashian’s butt is ready to be rolled out again in case things slow down. I can’t wait! Thank God there’s the Super Bowl soon. “We need football!”
The United States is corrupt and the president of the United States is insane and crooked and that is the NEW NORMAL….?
Well, for me, even that obvious statement will NOT be the news. Not news to me, anyway. The real news – a revelation, actually – is that so many US Federal workers needed food banks to get through the lock-out. That means they do not have the flexibility in their finances to ‘roll’ for a month without pay.
Mind you, even that is not BIG news…not really. We kinda knew that. Kinda. It was in the background.
Federal workers are the very definition of a middle class! A recent study indicated that 40-something-percent of working Americans and 46% of Canadians could NOT absorb a surprise ‘hit’ of as little as $200. I think the study concluded that $400 was the amount that tipped the balance for the largest percentage of Americans, but $200 was the peril-point for so many Canadians living pay cheque to pay cheque, they couldn’t handle it from cash flow. The middle class is no longer middle, they are dropping precipitously. When an air-traffic controller goes to the food bank, the middle class is NO MORE.
THAT IS NEWS!
Think about that. If you are are living paycheque to paycheque with barely a $200-$400 ‘discretionary’ income left over after expenses, you are a slave. Plain and simple. In a world controlled with money, you have no power. Slavery, albeit camouflaged in heaps of trashy consumer goods, is back.
If that was the case just for the poor, the addicted, the homeless downtrodden, the rural white trash and the impoverished minorities, that might not be real news. Most people think of a $200 – $400 ‘float’ as the threshold for poverty vs the very-low income. But that is not the case anymore. That $200-$400 margin-for-error is the new tipping point for the middle class, the car-drivers, the condo-dwellers, the BIG screen TV watchers and the fast-food restaurant-goers. Parents with kids. And the numbers of those ‘floating’ just above water (as the expression goes), it seems, are growing. More and more people are living only to work.
TO ME THAT’S NEWS!!
Roger Stone, self-confessed ‘dirty trickster’ of politics and a ‘Dandy’ dresser has over 600 custom-tailored suits in his closet. Paul Manafort sported a $15,000 Ostrich jacket, Michael Cohen owns several million dollar condos, Trump lives in a gold-leaf covered huge home atop Trump tower. Trudeau (don’t get me started), our politicians and bureaucrats stealing from the public purse, Mitch McConnell, even Nancy Pelosi, Obama and Clinton are all stinking rich….and they control the lives of most Americans….why? Because they ‘own them’ like slaves, that’s why.
America works like that. Canada works like that. Money talks. AND IT WALKS WITH A REALLY BIG STICK.
The News? Slavery is back.
And yet, they want more of my money through tax to fund the DB golden egg retirement benefits for government employees.
Somehow, the ‘people’ are seen as the go-to well for more money all the time. “We (government) want/need/can-extort MORE so let’s go get it from the people…hmmm…maybe we tax ’em, fine them, raise the prices of everything, give ’em less…any variation on that theme should get us MORE. Make it so, number one.”
AND, if by chance, they ever charge more to the corporations (rare), they do so to those who control the market (such as it is) and then THEY charge the people more. So, it is always the commoner that pays extra.
Do I care?
Not as much as you would think from the rant above because I am NOT enslaved anymore.
Yes, I rely on a lot of the ‘system’. True. And I ‘enjoy’ a lot of the system – also true. But I am NOT so dependent or entangled anymore. No chains. I can get away. I can NOT go there – and I do not most of the time.
But most people, once they get ‘involved’ in the system, get bound to it. They are chained, tied, dependent, enslaved to it. At first they do NOT want to leave, then they CAN’T leave – each piece of their lives dependent on the next piece. And THAT is when it becomes slavery. It is NOT just the cost of it all…it is the unceasing demands and inter-dependencies as well. “I can’t leave…..my kids are in school……my job…my mortgage…my wife won’t… I have debts…..what would I do….and all my friends…and I belong to…..my schedule…I have commitments…..and could I afford…house prices are falling/rising…I am due for a promotion…my retirement…..ad infinitum….”
Criticism? Absolutely NOT! That is simply the way of the beast. It entraps, entangles and smothers it’s victim/slaves. Then it EATS them. It’s a jungle out there.
Unless you go all cash, like the Vietnamese Pho 😝, there is no escaping.
Ummmh…waddya mean, ‘like Vietnamese pho’…..? All cash? Waddya mean?
Part two of my question is a statement: I have always thought that ‘all cash’ was a way to stick it to the man. NOT so much to avoid taxes but rather as a way to live under their meddling radar. If I pay cash and the seller taxes me, so be it. I would not object. That is the way of things. But, at least our transaction is NOT reported. No data banks. No banks. No middle-rats scurrying about with paper. It’s more personal. More real and less to go wrong information-wise. I use my Visa. Of course. But I do try to pay cash most of the time for the simple reason that it involves no one else but me and the seller. I prefer that.
Pho is the famous Vietnamese noodle dish,you should try it sometime. Now, most Pho places take cash only, therefore escaping da “system “ and win.
I’ve had Pho but had no idea that the food was synonymous with ‘use-cash-only’. That’s interesting.
Not sure what you mean by the ‘system.’
By ‘system’, I mean that larger, complex civilization that allows me to get comforts and products and, I suppose, some security or organizational efficiencies like communications and such. I can also buy steel/wood/pipes in various sizes…that kind of thing. Wine, cheese and exotic food from foreign countries. The SYSTEM has created modernity for all it’s flaws and benefits.
So, I am saying: “I try to utilize the benefits without experiencing too many of the flaws. I attempt to have my cake and eat it, too.” And my point in this blog is that many unconsciously suffer more the flaws without enjoying the benefits more than they have to OR they get so engaged that they can no longer change the position they find themselves in. Choice WAS involved before – but not so much now – for too many. They are trapped. (And a student loan might be the first OBVIOUS one.)
I see what you are saying but living in a civilization does not guarantee that one’s needs will be met. An addition characteristic among many needed is self efficacy. Have a look at what Bandura has to say about self efficacy. One of your exhortations, “Is get out now!” People who do not get out are not trapped by the system but by habits of mind.
Habits of the mind/constructs/beliefs/norms…..they trap people more than do walls. I agree. But so do the real demands of a spouse, children, relationships, contracts and the like. Of course, they are all ‘constructs’, too but, if you live in a box, the walls are real. If you live in a family, the family is real. Harry Brown (How I found Freedom in an Unfree World) came to know the self-imposition of constructs and found a way out. He ‘bought’ himself out. He paid. He paid his wife. He paid his kids. He just paid whatever the price was to ‘get out’. Ironically, of course, everyone he dealt with had to first agree that MONEY was the currency accepted to get out. But, presumably, his kids took the cash and didn’t look back so it worked for him. A family of sociopaths, I guess. But most people could not buy their freedom even if they had the money. Life is more connected than that.
MY contention is that ‘getting out’ does NOT mean paying any sort of price – or losing something. It’s just different, is all.
Self efficacy? Lack of self efficacy explains a great deal. Read Bandura.
“Middle Class” is becoming an illusion.
When well paid federal Govt workers are so deep in debt they cant handle a month of missed cheques……. alarm bells should be going off.
I keep a minimum of 5k in the bank just in case I get sick, have a major repair on my vehicle, get a call from a relative, etc.
The old saying ,” Most people are two missed pay days from living on the street….”.
Should be updated to one missed pay day.
Credit is way too easy to acquire and debt is considered a normal.part of life.
Gone are the days where debt was considered a burden to be deal with as soon as possible.
Housing sales are falling off a cliff and a huge chunk of Canada’s economy rely’s on real estate sales.
Could be a year full of ugly fiscal realities slapping people in the face.while Trump becomes more and more unstable.
Maybe I’ll stuff 10k in the vault……….
Living in the city requires at least $10K. That same $10K would last 5 months or more OTG.
The fact they are working for free is slavery in my view. I can’t understand why many people in the caring professions would want to work, but the fact that there are a whole range of jobs where one is required to work without pay is completely beyond me.
Not me. I’ve probably done 15% of my work for free. The last 15 years? Virtually all of it. Why? The primary motivation is to help those in need and if charging them made their life harder, then it wasn’t help, was it? I’ve always had enough. I can always make more. Why not? You can’t take it with you….so, give freely.
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Dave, I wasn’t referring to volunteering, where a lot of unpaid work happens as a way of giving back to the community to make the world a better place. That is a good thing and I highly endorse it. I’m referring to employees who are entitled to recompense for the labour they provide (with caveats around the need to do unpaid overpaid from time to time. I note that some people get a higher salary which may have a loading if the job involves regular overtime).
THAT makes more sense. Your character shows up and has for some time. I thought that of you all this time. You are one of the good guys. And NOT a money-chaser. And, I agree with you. Committing to doing something that taxes you and takes from your family is DEFINITELY a pay-me type of job. I had a few of those early on in my working life. They drained the life out of me and I quit them as soon as I could. The fastest was working in a slaughter house – that lasted seven hours. I was on the pickling machine but the automated bolt-killer operated just over my head. Just-killed and quartered pigs ( a process that took under ten seconds) fell from overhead into the trolley. I took from it for the pickling machine. Still warm pig parts swimming in blood! It was literally Hell.
Positions paid a monthly salary, such as school teachers, sometimes are expected to work overtime. No extra compensation.
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I did plenty of unpaid overtime in my working life, so I understand that it happens. In the end, I couldn’t keep it up though and stay healthy. In the case of teachers working overtime, it happens a lot in Australia. I think the profession is characterised by an aging demographic, and many will retire in the next decade. To the extent that unpaid overtime leads to burn-out, and the failure to recruit and retain good quality teachers, then this expectation that unpaid overtime is just a part of the job, can have a really detrimental result.
It must be similar in other professions as well. But I was really thinking more of those US government employees who just had no choice at all but to work even though they weren’t getting paid.