As the cost of living continues to rise amidst stagnant wages, more and more Americans find themselves dangling at the cusp of disaster.
American workers see their buying power decrease and their standard of living plummet but feel powerless to change their situations.
Not a Uniquely American Problem
Though Europeans typically have a better work-life balance than Americans, the problem isn’t limited to the States.
A Canadian worker came to Reddit wondering why workers worldwide collectively lay back and take constant cuts to their quality of life.
Examples of Lower Living Standards
The user gave a few glaring examples highlighting how people have it worse today than a decade ago.
Many can’t afford a home and must spend most of their paychecks on mediocre apartments. High housing costs prevent discretionary spending, so people cut back on things that make life worthwhile, like vacations and toys. Retirement is a pipe dream for many, while healthcare costs rise constantly.
“What has North America become?” they asked. “This continent used to have the highest standard of living in the world.”
It’s Not Acceptance
One user shared that acceptance is the wrong word. Most people don’t accept our current situation as the new normal but lack the resources and education to fight back.
“We lack unity and knowledge of who the true enemy is,” they stated, adding, “So we are unable to change it.”
The People Are Too Divided
Others pointed out the major problem: the ordinary people are too divided. The elites use culture wars to keep the populace fighting amongst themselves, oblivious to the true enemy.
“Americans need to take politicians to task instead of attacking each other. The ruling parties want citizens to fight each other, not them,” said one user.
But instead, we choose our team and go all in on whatever that team says, regardless of who it impacts.
There is No Choice
Many people are powerless to change the system. As voting rights get stripped away, and politicians promote policies that benefit corporations, the common people get left behind.
They have no money to donate to political causes. Politicians do everything they can to prevent them from voting, and they can’t even afford to think about it because they’re too busy stressing about how to keep food on the table.
Corporations Own The Government
Our politicians are bought and paid for. It was a blossoming problem, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision sealed the deal.
Money is speech and can’t be regulated. Corporations with deep pockets choose our elected officials and write the laws, while the people get fleeced whenever they turn around.
Race and Power
Lyndon Johnson famously said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
Politicians appeal to the worst aspects of humanity, our pride, ego, and need to feel superior.
It’s Not Bad Enough
People will accept a lot. Most folks just want to live their lives in peace and won’t do anything to upset a delicate balance if they can survive it.
However, there’s always a tipping point. We’re not there yet, but when the vast majority of the population can’t afford to live, we may see some changes. Hopefully, they will be more similar to FDR’s new deal than a revolt.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.