Dear President Obama and Governor Romney:
Greetings! We are Middle Class, Blue Collar America. Most of us are homeowners. We live paycheck to paycheck and put a little something aside towards savings and retirement if we are lucky. If we are not quite so fortunate, we make decisions about what bills to pay or not to pay so that we can put food on the table and a roof over our families’ heads – decisions that diminish us in our own eyes. And if we are really unfortunate, our homes may be in foreclosure while the bank’s CEO is cashing his multimillion dollar bonus check.
The cost of living has skyrocketed, gas prices have not dropped below $2.50 a gallon since 2007, and our health insurance premiums and deductibles have steadily increased – all of which steadily erodes our salaries – which, speaking for myself anyway have NOT increased even with a COLA – since 2009. Many of us, who were in fact saving for the future, had good credit, paid our bills on time have now dropped to category two – deciding whats most important of the bills we have to pay, putting off needed repairs to the house, and using the credit cards to pay bills and increasing our debt load. Trying to figure out how to help the kids pay for college. All it took was one or two catastrophic events (like major car repairs) to clean out the savings, and place at least one foot on the top of the slippery slope towards insolvency. We pay our taxes, contribute to Social Security and Medicare, we’re upstanding citizens – but now we’re drowning gentlemen, plainly and simply drowning. Paying for corporate greed. Paying for all kinds of services for those who have no business being here. Paying for absolute ridiculousness in government spending and incredible waste -shrimps on treadmills, anyone? -see an old post of mine for a listing and a dollar figure.
Frankly, there isn’t much of a gap between blue collar America and the working poor anymore, and that gap is narrowing daily. We are becoming a nation of duality. Those that have, and those that do not. How can a multimillion dollar bonus to a bank CEO be justified? What has he done – other than sign documents, oversee the transfer of other peoples money, and keep track of the banks investments? That’s not worth millions fellas, we do it daily on a smaller scale with our household budgets. Any head of household can do it. We make do, and go without, in order to achieve success down the road. We might dream about being millionaires; but unless we are incredibly lucky we know that’s not going to happen. We just want to be comfortable, and as worry free as possible.
I’m asking you to send a message to corporate America ; the oil companies, the banks, the Gordon Geckos on Wall Street, and Hollywood. How much is too much folks? Living a good life and having a few luxuries is one thing – but you only have to turn on the television to see conspicuous consumption at its very worst. My Super Sweet 16 on MTV is a good example. How can that type of excess be justified? It can’t. That money spent on a “one-off” event would keep a battered women’s or a homeless shelter running for several months. It would buy a nice little computer lab – with all the fixins – for a struggling rural school, or hire an additional teacher or two for a year at any school. Or provide some cool “toys” for the first responders in any community. The list is endless; so I’ll assume you take my point; and stop here. So, what are these “sweet 16” children learning? – instant gratification of any whim? Yep. Its gotta stop.
Lets set up more loan programs for small businesses at low-interest rates, and revise the requirements so that more middle class people can qualify for them. Let’s reinvest in America by actually helping out Americans. How much of those bank exec bonuses could have gone towards personal debt forgiveness? A consumer “bail-out” if you will. A show of good will towards the average Jane and Joe? We could sure use it.
How about keeping jobs in-country instead of outsourcing?. Of course Americans have to start becoming willing to accept real wages (what the job is actually worth to perform) instead of what they “think” they should be paid – because truth to tell we tend to exaggerate our worth. And this is why savvy businessmen will hire illegals, and outsource to China or India – because they’re a dirt cheap labor pool, even with shipping costs thrown in.
How about investing dollars and time in trade schools? We’re losing valuable technical skills every day a machinist or HVAC tech retires and there’s no one to take his or her place. (see my friend’s post about our misplaced focus on a college education.) We could learn much from the rest of the world as regards our education system which doesn’t even rank in the top 5.
And what about welfare reform? Lets dust off a “moldy-oldie” idea and reformat this more along the lines of FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The current bloated system encourages abuse, fosters unending dependence, and does little to promote self-sufficiency. My dear, now departed dad talked about how the CCC worked in the backwoods towns of New Hampshire while he was growing up in the 30’s. It was pretty simple. If you wanted a paycheck, you showed up at the town hall every day and signed up for whatever was available for work. He found himself hotpatching roads one day, delivering calves at a local dairy farm the next, and painting municipal buildings the day after that. But, if you didn’t show up for work – you didn’t get paid, period. Fast forward 70 years. What about child care? Not a problem, because some of the folks “on the dole” could staff municipal child care center(s) and provide supervision to the children of workers out doing other jobs. Local businesses would use these folks on a per diem/temp basis, and wouldn’t have to worry about paying health insurance or other benefits…. Something to think about… And actual work might actually get done – instead of the rest of us driving by and seeing 6 unionized road crew construction workers stand around with coffee in hand watching 1 other worker actually work….
Anyway – lets put our money in banks and corporations who truly reinvest in their communities, by paying it forward. Whose officers and executives take only enough salary to live comfortably without ostentation, And remove our money from the institutions who only feed their own, to bloated, avarice-ridden excess. Lets see some transparency starting at the top, so we can figure out who’s got their heads on straight and who’s got their heads up their posteriors.
That said however, please be aware. “There’s a storm coming… You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” ~ ‘Selina Kyle’ in “The Dark Knight Rises” In fiction there is truth, gentlemen. Witness what’s going on in the Middle East for the last year or more. We work hard every day and we’re tired. We’re sick of having too much to get any kind of meaningful help when we need it; and too little to get ahead. Please, when one of you is elected President – Remember us, and give us a break! Thank you.
Dear Readers: please reblog this if you agree and get the word out.
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