Archive - Mar 2013

March 28th

RE: The Moneys

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Memo to all the Americans reading this: IT'S MAINLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T.

It's the modern American Dream. You do all the right things, come from the right background, get the right education, work hard, get a little lucky, and you can just barely make yourself comfortable, except for the nagging feeling that you're not really making any progress and you're not sure if you'll be able to retire comfortably.

Or, you know, you could make a mistake. Or get sick. Or not be from the right background. Or get the wrong education. Or get a little unlucky. And then you don't get to be comfortable. You just get to survive, and work your ass off, and keep from starving, and listen to Mitt Romney call you a moocher dependent on government handouts.

Or at least, that's what it feels like. And it turns out it feels that way because, well, it's true. You don't have any fucking money. You may think you have some money, but compared to what you should have? You don't have any fucking money, because the people with the money? They're not giving you any fucking money. They're doing this because they like the money and they don't like you, so they want to keep the money. And science has proven it.

Back in the day, through the mid 70s, the money people made was over half of the gross domestic product. As late as 2001, it was still just barely under half of the GDP.

Last year? 43.5%.

What that means is that, as a share of all the moneys, the moneys you got is LESS MONEYS. Which means other people, people who didn't earn moneys from working? They got MORE MONEYS.

I don't like to be that reductive, but this is Race To The Bottom America, where every economic injustice, no matter how egregious, is met with a shrug of the shoulders and a demand that you be grateful Donald Trump isn't emptying his gold chamber pot into your open mouth yet. So I am compelled to a certain simple directness here.

Here's another one. Let's say, like 90% of all people, you're not one of the top 10% of earners. OK. You know how much more money you make now, every year, than the average equivalent person did three years before I was born, in 1966? Adjusted for inflation?

Fifty nine bucks. Forty seven years of "progress", and your slice of the pie is, at best, exactly one new-release video game per year bigger than it was before we landed on the MOTHERFUCKING MOON.

But that's OK. It's adjusted for inflation, right? Prices go up, wages go up, standards of living remain mostly constant, everyone's happy! Except some people are happier than others. You may recall that I was only talking about the bottom 90% of earners. That's because in the same time period, the top ten percent? They're making $116,071 more than they were in 1966. Again, adjusted for inflation.

That means that rich people, in that same time period, got enough for one new release video game, one footlong value meal at Subway with large drink, and oh, a top of the line BMW 7-Series luxury sedan with all the options. And that's just the increase in their adjusted wages. Every year. They got, as I may have mentioned above, ALL THE MONEYS.

Deep down, we all know this. That's why the Occupy movement struck a chord. That's why the Republicans lost in 2012. But it's still all simmering under the surface, thanks to a concerted cultural effort by the wealthy and powerful to convince you to be happy with your lot, because it could be worse, and pitchforks, torches, and guillotines are so uncivilized. Now shut up and watch American Idol to take your mind off of American Idolatry.