This is Joe from the disappearing Middle Class in Greensboro. I thought I'd drop you a note to tell you I felt that something is wrong.
As the City goes by economic assumptions from above, the Commerce Department is spot on that my spending didn’t increase any adjusted for the inflation that you all keep telling me isn’t there. Have you tried to buy some hamburger recently or do you just eat out on non-profit/corporate/taxpayer funded credit cards? The price of a pack of spaghetti has doubled over the past 3 years. Me and Mrs. J along with the kids kinda like spaghetti now and then and the Mrs. even made a great Bologna sauce, but the hamburger got too expensive as has the spaghetti, so we had to cut back. So you're right, we did sit at home and watch Dancing with the Stars a lot. It's what we can afford.
I got fired in late 2008 from a high paying salaried job with benefits when the economy dumped due to the 'Financial Crisis' wrapped in white collar fraud, after which not only no one from the top of any of the big banks went to jail, but they, and many of their hired politicians prospered. Since then I’ve been holding down a part time greeters job at Home Depot with no benefits. I even took on a second part time job with no benefits at another place because I was getting bored watching television all day. Plus, we could use the extra money as our savings has been depleted. And we’re very worried about our health and the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing. But I guess you probably have a health care plan paid for by the Rhino Times, the Bryan Foundation or the City. Why, feeling particularly liberated, Mrs. Joe's even picked up a couple of part time jobs, as well. “Arbeit macht frei" seems to have taken on a whole new meaning these days for whole bunch of us out here.
And then when the stock market collapsed, our 401(k)s got wiped out as we’d been buying all the great stuff that the professionals on CNBC and and our broker had told us were "bullet proof". See, I had to rely on somebody, because I’m not a professional investment manager and really don’t have a lot of financial savvy. I was just doing what my government suggested, that I was liberated by doing my own investing in my own retirement plan.
I guess not.
And yes, when I got scared to death, right at the bottom of the market, I sold all the stuff and wound up with next to nothing for retirement. And since we don’t have full time jobs with any benefits, it’s kind of a moot point that my market timing was bad, isn’t it? So when you think of all the wealth being gleaned by people invested in stocks, none of us few guys from Greensboro left behind in Middle America have any stocks, period.
But it is what it is, isn’t it? Maybe you should understand that as well: we’ve not benefited from any largess bestowed upon the “system”, crony based City of Greensboro taxpayer funded 'incentive grants', zero interest rates since nobody loans me money at zero %, rising stock prices, or free water and sewer for the biggest campaign donors.
I know that you said that you guys at the News and Record and Rhino Times think that these shocks were a long time ago, and they were. But you see, I've had a bad experience since 2008 and the only thing happened is that it’s gotten worse, since. Guess you never took the hit, did you? Maybe that’s why you’ve no empathy with my situation. Nope, no empathy whatsoever, all you guys in good jobs talking with one another and Greensboro's tycoons who collect rent and their gainfully employed high income earner representatives.
And I’ll bet that your kids who just graduated college, both of ‘em in the last 4 years, didn’t have trouble getting decent jobs, did they? Well, both of ours didn’t get any job straight out of school, looked for over a year and now have part time, no benefits jobs, just like mom and dad. And they both graduated from great schools with real employable skills. Little Joe has a degree in Marketing and Little Mrs. J in Journalism. Would you be looking for anybody at the News and Record or Rhino? I didn’t think so.
What about those people who all work for the government making all sorts of rubbish up out of thin air and calling it news? I don’t know any, either. By the way, the kids live at home because neither can afford anything on their own.
So, you, Greensboro and the American economy might just not want to hold your collective breaths waiting for any of us to spend money on anything, because we can’t afford it. Do you understand now?
So, do something about it, you’re the people with all the influence, instead of telling everyone potato chips cost the same at 8.5 ounces as 12.
And no, we haven't been able to pay down any of our debt as we don't have the disposable income. In fact, if we had a windfall maybe we'd use it to to pay off the second mortgage that everybody told us to get because home prices were going to go up forever (just ask the CNBC folks again) and nobody asked us anything about our assets or incomes.
Lot of good that did, no?
So Nancy, Zack, Mike, Nancy etc..., here’s the real scoop. We ain’t got the resources to spend anymore on anything except what is absolutely necessary.
Oh, you ask, who then are the folks crowding the cruise ships and tattoo parlors? We'd guess they’re the people on government assistance that we're supporting on de minimis hourly wages and no benefits that the government showers with our tax money in order to buy their votes. Didn’t think I knew that, did you? Well, we all do. And no, we’re not racist, radical or anything of the ilk for disliking it.
So, hope you get my take on all this. And if you're left wondering, maybe read it a couple more times because the truth of the matter is right there. And please remember us during the next big holiday, when the Joe family will most likely be lucky to be splurging, stretching it, with a plate of spaghetti Bologna."
Don't they look happy?