I'm a Member of the American 'Used-to-Haves' From HuffPo
I used to have a house. I used to go on vacations. I used to shop at department stores, get my hair done and even enjoy pedicures. Now, I don't. I'm a member of the American "Used-to-Haves."
Me too! I measure these things as: I used to have subscriptions to - the daily paper, National Geographic, Omni, Seirra Club, Audubon, and more. They dropped off one by one until I had no more subscriptions. This didn't happen all at once. As Kathleen Annsays,..
Now, I'm renting an apartment and I'm desperately awaiting a check so I can pay the rent. Yet, I'm lucky to have an apartment that includes utilities. Despite my college degree from a prestigious college, and solid employment track record, I can't get a job. It's been so long since my corporate days, I now feel unemployable.
My age doesn't help. But I'm as healthy as a thoroughbred, I appear quite young and would gladly accept a basic salary. I'm a bargain! But no. I'm freelancing for $15 an hour these days, but I used to earn $100 an hour. In fact, all the freelance hourly rates have been driven down to $15-30 an hour. To make ends meet, I also work as an aide ($13.75 an hour) and run a small local company. And my annual earnings are under $20,000.
Yeah, tell us about it.
We "Used-to-Haves" all used to work in the corporate world for big, wealthy companies. We were discarded in layoffs. I've been told, as my employer du jour let me go, what a positive difference I made and the value of my contributions. I agree. I know I made my bosses look brilliant. Fully aware that my contributions built the company's brand image. Yet, I was expendable.
I know this tune...
As a new "Used-to-Have," I denied my slide. "I'm not poor!" I nervously chuckled to myself. But as I slid more, the smartest thing was finally acknowledging poverty and applying for the benefits available. I'd never been poor before. I didn't know how to be poor. But finally, I learned. The magnitude of my shame and embarrassment is unspeakable. It's impossible to explain to people who aren't poor -- "The Haves." When I'm beseechingly desperate for a check owed to me, the check writer inevitably has no concept of how frighteningly desperate I am for that money. They say, "Next week? or "The accountant says two weeks." I plead, nicely, sincerely, "Is there no way you could just write me that check?" And the answer is "no." It's just putting a pen to paper, but for "The Haves," I'm just a pain in the neck.
The press calls it "The Great Recession." It actually was the "Great Theft." In the wake of this very public, often-glossed-over theft from the middle class, the perpetrators have been revealed. We know the American corporations without the courage, scruples or heart to help us, the ones responsible for the recession and the politicians who put the toxic policies in place. We "Used-to-Haves" aren't stupid.
As a "Used-to-Have," I'm beyond angry. I'm not a "Never Had." I know what it's like to pay bills on time and have a little left over. I remember vacations and pedicures and going out to dinner. As a "Used-to-Have," I know exactly what Corporate America, lobbyists and politicians have taken away from me. The "Used-to-Haves" and the children of the "Used-to-Haves" won't forget. The "Used-to-Haves" are educated. Many of us and our children have amazing talent and academic honors. We know how to get things done. And though all of the odds appear to be against us, we must refuse to give up hope.
I dunno, sometimes it's just easier to have another rum drink and yell at the clouds. Geeze, I am getting old.
“USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods,” Warren wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed on Saturday. The op-ed picked up on a report from the USPS’s Inspector General that proposed using the agency’s extensive physical infrastructure to extend basics like debit cards and small-dollar loans to the same communities that the banking industry has generally ignored. The report found that 68 million Americans don’t have bank accounts and spent $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees for the kinds of basic financial services that USPS could begin offering. The average un-banked household spent more than $2,400, or about 10 percent of its income, just to access its own money through things like check cashing and payday lending stores. USPS would generate savings for those families and revenue for itself by stepping in to replace those non-bank financial services companies.
Those companies are among the most predatory actors in the money business. Payday loans with annual interest rates well north of 100 percent suck paying $520 to borrow $375. After decades of operating in a regulatory blind spot and ducking state-level reforms, the payday lending business now faces a crackdown from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The threat of new rules for short-term cash loans in general has caused traditional banks to stop offering deposit-advance loans with similar features.
[Snip] Doing business in those communities in a more ethical fashion would still be profitable enough to inject about $9 billion into the struggling federal mail agency’s books. The USPS is dealing with a fiscal crisis, one largely manufactured by Congressional choices. The agency gets no taxpayer money for its operations but is still under Congress’s authority, and lawmakers have used that authority to impose arbitrary financial requirements and service constraints that have the post service on the verge of bankruptcy. USPS is legally obligated to hold assets in its pension funds that cover the next 75 years of projected pension costs, a unique and crippling requirement that Congress refuses to lift despite evidence that it is almost solely responsible for the agency’s financial woes. Ayuh. On another note - Anyone remember going "Postal"?
Peyton Manning talks corporate sponsorship of quarterback's call signals.
With football being the number one spectator sport in the USA, and corporations that are always looking for new ways to cash in, it was only a matter of time. Peyton Manning, QB of the 2013-14 Denver Broncos, talked with Dan Patrick about his "Omaha, Omaha" signals when changing up a play at the line of scrimmage. Peyton dispelled rumors that he was retiring to go to work for Omaha Steaks, or Mutual of Omaha. He went on to disparage the seemingly eventual sponsorships of QB's call signs. "...next, they'll be paid to yell 'GatorAde, GatorAde' at the line". Payton finished with hoping that he was out of football by the time that happens.
Omaha, Omaha and the Gatorade comments start at about 2:25.
If I were so inclined, I could find more than a few parallels between corporate football and Rollerball I bet, but it's time to shovel.
Bruce Levine: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporatocracy
Bruce Levine concludes that the problem isn’t that we are a “center-right” country or an apathetic people. The issue is that we are a people who have been systematically beaten down by the corporatocracy. As a clinical psychologist, he sees the people as a whole as suffering from abuse syndrome — a people actively demoralized.
Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane
Bill O'Reilly - Hypocrite, Self Aggrandizing Asshole
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Fox News can kiss my Presidential ass.
Click here for Award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal's video summary of his new book that traces the rise of the radical right in the US and how it used the concept of personal crisis to grow as a movement and eventually capture control of the GOP to transform it from the party of Dwight Eisenhower to the party of Sarah Palin.
DownSize to Thrive, A Crash Course in 21st Century Survival
This is an awesome site created by my good friend Shaleia with lot and lots (a veritble plethora) of good, common sense ideas about surviving in these uncertain economic times.
Air America Radio - Rest In Peace, we will miss you.
That famous liberal media bias that you are always hearing about but can't get anywhere else.
Why We Need Government-Run Universal Socialized Health Insurance
Screwed: The Undeclared War against the Middle Class ... and What We Can Do about It
Under the guise of "freeing" the market, conservatives have enriched themselves and their fat-cat cronies and screwed everyone else. Beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has steadily instituted policies and legislation that favor corporations over citizens. This book nails the truth about how both parties have been screwing the American people, except for the one hundredth of one percent who earn over $6 million a year.