Anybody could have predicted what’s happening now. Long before our so-called “recession,” many of us took a look around and realized things could not go on as they were. We saw an older generation that often had both pensions and Social Security as well as a good bit of money saved from their working years.
Anybody could have predicted what’s happening now.
Long before our so-called “recession,” many of us took a look around and realized things could not go on as they were.
We saw an older generation that often had both pensions and Social Security as well as a good bit of money saved from their working years.
We then looked around at the younger generations and saw that almost none of them have pensions, and a great number are not making enough money to save significantly for their retirements. They will depend on Social Security. But declining birth rates mean we won’t have multiple young workers supporting each retiree via Social Security — in fact, each worker will pay big chunks of every paycheck to help support multiple older folks.
We saw that people are no longer purchasing American-made products. They can’t even if they want to, because everything for sale in the stores is made in China.
Perhaps Grandpa worked at a factory. But his children lost their factory jobs when production moved overseas, and had to instead take jobs selling those goods in a store. Now his grandchildren only wish they could find a job in retail.
We see more and more young people in their 20s who are still living at home. What happens when today’s 20-somethings are parents and then grandparents? How will they take in their own children and grandchildren during hard times? They cannot afford to establish a home for themselves now, let alone take care of others later. When the relatively well-off older generation passes on, a significant safety net their children and grandchildren have depended on will be gone.
How could anybody think we could go on this way?
I don’t believe this is any ordinary recession that will in time correct itself. It is the inevitable result of piles of policies that benefitted many in the short run and a few in the long run.
Some of us think it’s time to stop rewarding corporations who move factories overseas. We think it’s wrong when CEOs make more than 100 times what the workers beneath them earn. We think we should rewrite the tax laws in such a way that is fair to everyone. We think it’s wrong that some corporations complain about the “high” tax rates they pay when in fact there are so many loopholes that many of them actually pay nothing at all.
I could scarcely believe it when the tea party folks began organizing. I understood why they were upset, but I believed they were directing their anger at exactly the wrong people.
Mention that the majority of our country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top few percent, and you’d hear tea party folks answer that the non-rich were just looking for a handout: “People too lazy to get a job want those who worked hard for everything they have to just give it to them!”
But that is a serious misunderstanding of what is happening here. You’ll get no arguments from me that lazy people should be pampered. However, most of the non-rich are already working hard and are just asking for an opportunity to receive more of the fruits of their labors.
Both the tea party folks and the occupy folks are angry and know things aren’t right. I think the occupy folks better understand the root causes. I’d suggest the two just might, however, have more in common than they know. The tea party has been successful in nudging Congress into spending less money. Perhaps the occupy folks will be successful in nudging Congress into reforming our financial system — though that’s a much larger order than just slashing a budget, which is hard enough.
How about listening to each other, and how about working together?
Otherwise, anybody can predict what’s coming.
Michelle Teheux may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.