Now, for my opinion on the article "Rising Poverty Level and Obama's Middle Class Fantasy". I gave this article an over all rating of 4 stars. It is a very good article and we need more of these on BrooWaha. We can never have enough. It was so good infact that it inspired me to write a comment. That comment grew until I realized it was a complete article in rebuttal to Dan Ehrlich's stance on the issue. No matter how well written, I respectfully disagree.
3rd generation Americans (that includes me) are lazy and spoiled. We never had to earn anything. My great grandfather came over on a boat from Italy, never spoke a word of English his whole life, and operated a crossing gate (yes, before there were electrical systems a human sat in a tower and manually raised and lowered that gate). He was able to raise 13 kids, own his home, and pay his taxes and die a debt free man with a huge family and community that loved him.
He saved. He never spent more than he earned. He knew restraint and commitment to a bigger picture. THOSE are traits lost from the generations that are the bulk of the "working class" right now. We want it and we want it yesterday. I can get a loan (still, even after all that mortgage backed security craziness) for over 100% the value of a new home, in CA with less than 10% down at a 6% interest rate.
That shouldn't even be possible. But because the banks are desperate and I have good credit I can get the loan. I have worked to CANCEL over $200,000 worth of credit I had available to me on credit cards. They keep "making an error" in canceling my cards. They don't want to let me go because I pay on time and have never missed a payment.
The system we (those born to baby boomers and later) were raised in is one of instant gratification. Baby Boomers want to give their kids the life their parents never could give them. This includes a college degree that I am still paying off because I went to a "good private school" when all I could pay cash for was a local state school. I got LOANS, my parents got MORE LOANS, and we are all still in debt for this degree that I can't seem to pay off. This is a very common story.
See, What It Costs to Go to College, The Average Student Loan Debt, and Students suffocate under tens of thousands in loans for more information on these common stories.
I have had to learn how to put off my impulses and pay cash for things, and not use credit unless my tires blow out in the middle of nowhere CA. This wasn't taught to me. It was just the school of hard knocks the whole way. I'm not the only making good money, increasing my wage, in a "down" economy. There are others at the head of the class in this school, too. We all don't look to blame, we look to ourselves to change, adapt, grow, and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
I have worked to educate myself, get retrained, retool to fit the jobs that ARE there. Many people refuse to do this. They complain that the jobs "left". Yes they did, but there are new, higher paying jobs in IT, Finance, HR, at companies managing those jobs overseas from here in the US. People are given the opportunity to get free training to get on the path to a NEW career and all they do is lament what they lost. That is sad, lazy, self pity that I am ashamed that I felt. It took me five years to get my crap together and change and I did. In this "down" economy I changed careers and increase my income by over 40% all thanks to Obama and his new initiatives.
I am on a compliance project that is a direct result of the laws Obama pushed for that are now holding companies accountable for the credit card data that they have on file. There are huge fines and SEC sanctions if you do not provide adequate security for that data. Obama's administration pushed Congress and through executive order actually, for the 1st time ever, defined adequate security at a technical level, gave the fines real teeth, and funded auditors that can actually go look for these issues.
PCI Security Standards for more information on PCI.
Credit Card Bill Of Rights summed up on www.whitehouse.gov (see video at start of the article) and this Fact Sheet released in May of 2009 shows that Obama and his administration are trying to work on what is at the crux of the issue. Credit in the US is breaking the working class. It has broken the working class and now we are all poor and trying to dig ourselves out.
We aren't born in debt, we earn that all by ourselves. Obama is trying to enable us to help ourselves. No, he isn't going to do the work for us. We have to swim or sink, but Obama is throwing us a life jacket and encouraging us to swim to the boat after the titanic has gone under. I urge everyone to take stock of their own part in our countries mess, look at why you are in debt, what did you buy that you didn't have cash for and you didn't need.
- Base Foods (bread, milk, water, vegetables, fruit, and not eating out, ordering in)
- Shelter (renting when you shouldn't own because you can't afford it is much more intelligent than trying to buy more than you can afford)
That is it, food and shelter. If you have those two things you are surviving. If you have 3-8 months expenses in savings for you and your family and you aren't dependant upon any organization for subsidy, guess what; you are the 1950s definition of "middle class". A "working class" with savings and building for retirement. I am working to get to that definition right allong with the rest of the US that got hit hard by the economical disaster.
I retooled over the last 3 years. I did it. It sucked. I was depressed. I got help. I am tired of hearing people say you can't do it. I work with people that don't have a college degree and are making over $200,000 a year because they went out and worked their butt off to get the pure skills to be the best network engineer out there. Still working 80 hour weeks, but they are earning it. They aren't complaining. They are too busy working in this "bad economy"
My advice to people that are struggling is to stop blaming administrations that are clearly trying to help and start "pulling yourself up by your boot straps" and get to work! Work may be unpaid for a while while you get skills that do pay, fine, go do that! Do something to get momentum going but sitting on a couch with cable (I don't have cable, can't afford it, but plenty of "poor people have cable TV") isn't going to get you not poor.
Secure food and shelter. Then educate yourself instead of watching sports, soaps or other mind numbing TV crap and take that education out in the world and you will get a job. One that Dan Ehrlich says Obama hasn't provided and that I currently have as a direct result of Obama's actions.