“That’s the problem with the American Dream – makes everyone concerned for the day they’re gonna be rich.” – The West Wing
Yes, I know I quoted The West Wing. And yes I know that is the most basic Democrat nostalgia maneuver ever. But that quote is also true. The only thing more true than that quote is this tweet:
I sometimes think that fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans is an optimism gap. Republicans are protecting themselves for the day in the future when they might be rich – tax cuts, perks for business owners, etc. Democrats are protecting themselves for the day in the future when they might be poor – food stamps, Social Security Disability, unemployment benefits.
The problem, of course, is that all the current rich people are better organized that the current non-rich so it keeps working out that their current demands are addressed first.
It’s easy to say that it’s the money that gets rich people what they want out of government but that’s only half of what makes them better resourced. The other half is time. People who are not struggling every day to get by have the time to dedicate to getting more of what they want.
Those of us who have to work for a living for 40 or more hours per week. Who have to commute to and from work. Who have to drive our children to sports practice and doctor appointments. Who need to rake our own leaves and stand in our own lines at the DMV and still come home and get dinner on the table, we run out of time to ask for what we need. We may have enough money for all the basics in life, but in order get that money we have sacrificed time.
And that is not an accident.
It is not an accident that real wages haven’t gone up in decades. It’s not an accident that people are expected to cram more work into the same number of hours as past generations. It’s no accident that workers are tethered to the office via text and email, that shift workers have uncertain schedules, and that we all have to live far from our jobs due to housing costs rising closer to where the jobs are.
This has all been done on purpose to keep us so busy and so tired and so desperate to keep our jobs that we don’t have time to take stock of the stark reality that we are one pink-slip away from ruin but we are lifetimes away from the American dream of being rich.
So, think back to what I said about the policy priorities of Democrats and Republicans. That Democrats are preparing to be poor, while Republicans are preparing to be rich. And think about your real prospects for wealth in your lifetime.
The n think hard about who will be there to support your actual needs in your actual future.