Why were the banks too big to fail, but it was okay to let the banks fail the same people whose taxes bailed them out? The premise of capitalism is similar to evolution – survival of the fittest. If the banks and Wall Street failed, they deserved to. However, I understand the financial implications – a global depression unseen, financial apocalypse. What about the lower and middle class that worked hard, put money into savings and now cannot live in this recession? What about the thousands of middle class Americans who were downsized and due to age are now unemployable? I get angered every time I hear politicians say unemployed people are lazy or you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps. I know several professionals with degrees, who due to the economy lost their jobs. They applied to jobs well beneath their experience, but did so to try to make ends meet. They diligently tried to work with their mortgage company to come up with a revised payment plan for six months to a year, just to allow them to get their bearings. Their unemployment expired and savings spent on necessities of raising a family. Several walked away from their homes, some still unable to find work (with two degrees). I was a bright student, but I did not come from a wealthy family or a connected family. I was very fortunate to have people see my potential and invest knowledge, time and resources in my development. But for those people, I would probably be a statistic of urban dwelling. It scares me to think that after all of my years of studying to make something of myself and do better, that I could end up “robbing peter to pay paul.” I know plenty of attorneys living paycheck to paycheck, student loan monthly payments around $1500-2k, no health insurance and a hospital bill away from bankruptcy. It’s not all LA Law or Boston Legal. That is the lifestyle of only 15% of American lawyers. The rest make less than some teachers.
I don’t want to hear another politician talk about family values and then cut education and social services. There are American schools that only hold classes four days a week to save money. And they wonder why our students are not competing at the same level in math and science as their European and Asian counterparts. Don’t tell me budget cuts will save our children’s future while de-funding their only true hope – an education. Don’t tell me to save life, but then de-fund programs that help make that new life better in this crazy world.
I always sneer at women who either were born into wealth or forget how broke they were before they married into financial stability, but have plenty of advice for single women on how to save money (none of which they did while single). Our politicians are like those women. They have tons of advice that does not apply to them because they are secure. Even if there was a shutdown, congress members would still get paid. How about to prove the point, you go without pay? That’s putting your money where your mouth is – tighten your belt with us.
Is the American dream still possible in this new economy? Work hard, study hard and you too can be downsized after corporate greed, Wall Street, and Bernie Madoff – make off with your money in their golden parachutes. Now the cynic in me whispers “but life isn’t fair.” My dad used to say, “It’s good to want things, but you don’t always get what you want even when you deserve them.” I must hope that somehow the apathy and political polarization will give way to something better. I just don’t know what that something is, but I must hope.