consumption

My Mother Has Alzheimer’s and I Work at Starbuck’s

Hey, millennial here. Did that capture your attention? Good, for two reasons. First, in the very near future, that will not be a pithy little blog entry title, but the social landscape for the United States and elsewhere, thanks to global wealth concentration. Secondly, you should now be thinking about two very real and frightening phenomena: the cost of healthcare and wage stagnation. People have been really happy and satisfied with their advice when they tell me to be grateful to have a job, but silly me, I expect that income should be able to cover things like expenses. I am confident that someone is about to tell me about my coffee (which I do not regularly drink), but bear with me.

Everyone who bothers to know is aware that most of the working population is one paycheck away from poverty. While it is tempting to say that almost 325 million people have no self control, time would be better spent understanding that people are consistently getting paid less because of wage stagnation. So much effort has been made to ensure that wealthy people stay wealthy and have no exposure to (gasp!) poor people that none of these wealthy know that their wages pay for absolutely nothing. Sadly, the desperate fight to make these sad, little people of wealth pay $15 an hour as a minimum wage made them stomp their feet and raise prices ever more. Yeah, that’ll learn us.

Even very bad math scholars assure me that if people have no money, they have no money to save for retirement or for any potential healthcare crises. Funnily enough, that same money being use to purchase cradle-rocked, hand-watered organic raisins is the same money that pays for the phone that you want me to avoid, but punish me for ignoring. The money is also the same money that I could use to purchase a home that my parents can move into, because I should definitely not continue living with them. While I have tried to use my uniquely crafted money to pay for medical care, I have been told that currency with a picture of my cat is simply no good; folks will actually need the same money I happen to need to pay for food. Alas.

Speaking of medical care, I sure hope that since I failed to major in three of the paying degrees that everyone else–what? What do you mean, “We don’t have enough doctors to take care of older people”? That would be like telling me that the cost of taking care of older people is rising to outflank retirements, and I know that simply is not true. (After completing one-less-than-60-second internet search) $100,000 to take care of an elderly person for one year? Ummm…I guess I can move to be closer–wait, there are no jobs for me there? Okay, I will swallow my pride, move in with them, and–what do you mean, “If I lose my job, we could all be homeless”? Well, then how do we solve this problem? Anyone? Anyone?

And there you have (one of) our non-environmental crises in a nutshell. Sure, everyone could live in cities and potentially traverse denser communities, but there are people who cannot afford to live in those areas who already have homes and families. Telling people to be grateful for bad jobs with no benefits is surprisingly helping no one. Easy answers and apathy towards the downtrodden will not solve this, so I suggest we all start working on solutions before this blog entry title becomes a reality show.

Resources & Links:

https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/5-shocking-facts-about-extreme-global-inequality-and-how-even-it-davos

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/working-poor-liquid-asset-poverty_n_1243152.html

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/02/america-record-job-growth-economics-wage-stagnation

http://www.kut.org/post/42-percent-households-austin-are-struggling-pay-their-bills-report-says

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/the-middle-class-is-shrinking-everywhere-in-chicago-its-almost-gone/e63cb407-5d1e-41b1-9124-a717d4fb1b0b

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/03/488385286/medicaid-safety-net-stretched-to-pay-for-seniors-long-term-care

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/15-an-hour-a-higher-wage-but-hardly-a-living/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829777/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/04/18/the-shortage-of-home-care-workers-worse-than-you-think/#1fe0d9d13ddd

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