Friday, October 5, 2012

A Super-Majority of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck

It used to be that living "paycheck to paycheck" where one saves not a single dollar was a sign of fiscal mismanagement or not having enough income.  But unfortunately a report from the American Payroll Association says that 68% of Americans are living without any savings.  This little fact nearly slipped by me completely yesterday as the evening news mentioned it very briefly after briefly reporting that median incomes continue to slip in the US.  Of course these two facts are related and yet nobody really wants to talk about it.  What upset me about it further was that the anchor tried to skirt past the fact by saying that the reason Americans are living paycheck to paycheck is because "luxuries" like Internet and mobile phones are considered necessities.  Oh yes, I'm sure the $100 I spend on those things would really help me balance my budget.

We need to accept the fact that prices are going up while paychecks are going down and that the result is that people are struggling more and more with their financial situation.  I personally struggle with money quite a lot.  To the point where I just try to not even think about it because if I do I just despair to the point of depression.  I don't have a bad paying job either.  But when I look at it, I see everything but my paycheck going up and I see people not giving a single flark about it.  In fact there's a good portion of the population that wants to see my paycheck go down, but that's another story for another day.

America is headed for a very dangerous place.  One of the reasons the US was a "Land of Oppertunity" was because a man could, with hard work, make quite a lot of money without much schooling.  There wasn't really any school to go to for one to build a building, lay a road or manufacture widgets.  However a person could make good money in the past doing those very activities.  As the US continues to be content in giving up its manufacturing, allowing its infrastructure to rot and the demand for new contruction goes out the door, the demand for "unskilled" labor shrinks exponentially.  By some estimates we will have an 89,000,000 worker surplus in unskilled labor within the next 5 years.  Brings some perspective to why some can't find work, eh?  But if you're a financial vulture capitalist or lawyer things are fucking super!  Sorry RoTi.

But still, even after endless tax breaks and taxes being the lowest they've been in decades, we still must lower taxes further and hope that the magical "job creators" make more jobs for us to become wages slaves in.  However, those job creators are not creating jobs, they're hording cash to protect themselves when the markets flop again because they won't hire.  You know, there gets to be a point where we look and see business defending themselves and not giving a single fuck about the common man and we have to say "maybe it's time for business to feel some pain".  Maybe we should only start caring about ourselves.  We should say "raise taxes on corporations and lower them on individuals".  A nice 99.99% corporate tax seems good at this point to me.  Or maybe we should tax individuals the same way we tax businesses.  I would like it very much if I only had to pay taxes on my "profits" instead of my "revenues".  I don't think I'd ever pay taxes again.

What it comes down to is that the extremely wealthy have such a buffer now that they don't even notice when recessions happen anymore.  They just use them as excuses to get their tax burdens lowered again and again by calling themselves "job creators".  Bullshit.  Stuffing cash into your bank accounts doesn't create a single job.  Higher profits for you doesn't create a single job.  Why?  Because you purposely don't "create jobs" to get higher profits.  People cost you money, throwing money into derivatives doesn't.  And there by jove is the problem.  As long as you have enough money you can make your money make money without a single person to do any work for you.  Who cares if your country's manufacturing is falling through the floor because China will just build everything you need for you and you can continue to make money off of nothing.

Perhaps this is why Candidate Rmoney wanted the American auto companies to go under?  Maybe he has some interest in Chinese cars.  In fact we would hardly know the difference as they added Dodge Charger copies to our market that looked exactly right but had 4 cylinder engines.  Oh wait, Fiat is already going to do that.  Problem?  I hope so.  But that topic is actually a bit of a digression.  Oh well.

The point I'm getting to is the system that Romney is getting to has already proven that it does not work.  Trickle down does not work.  If it did, the already ridiculously low tax rates would have "fixed" the economy a long time ago.  I'm tired of the dangling carrot as mega-corporations pay single digit tax rates and continue to tell us if we just lower taxes a bit further than they'll "create jobs".  The only jobs I see are blow jobs for big business.  Time for a new system.

And yes, I want your money.


westys said...

I look forward to drawing a steady paycheck again. Being laid-off blows. I spend my entire day applying for jobs while wondering how my last interview went and whether that will end the unemployment status.

Count your blessings. At least there is money coming in and you have enough to make bills. Barely.

Jessie Louthan said...

Great point Westy, I'm in the same boat.

This is one of the best articles that I've read, here or otherwise. Well done.

Jessie Louthan said...

I also would like to mention that based on the annual income tax returns, most Americans make around $27,000 a year. Are you kidding me? One person can barely survive on that, let alone a family. I'm sick and tired of corporations paying slave wages to hard-working Americans...

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