Friday, November 08, 2013

The American economy: It’s worse than you imagined

Writer Michael Snyder has an eye-opening article posted on the Zero Hedge site titled, Which America do you live in? — 21 hard to believefacts about ‘wealthy America’ and ‘poor America.’ It’s basically a compendium of economic data reflecting the colossal and continuously expanding inequality between rich and poor in this country. It’s sobering stuff, because those of us lucky enough to have decent jobs can too easily barricade ourselves from the reality of poverty and inequality that exists all around us.

I have actually lived in both worlds. During the financial tsunami of 2008 I was laid off and it took me over two years to find another job. Never having the luxury of being able to save money, I lost my condo and went through bankruptcy during that period, and if it were not for my girlfriend, I could have easily found myself living on the streets. It was a bleak period of bouts with depression and anger and self-esteem issues, and it is the curse that more and more Americans are experiencing in their lives. It is not, as conservatives would have you believe, only a problem for the laziest among us.

The cars in the parking lot where I work are almost all newer model, mid-priced vehicles. There are a few BMWs, one or two Mercedes, and a clunker or two, but the lot generally reflects a group of mostly white men and women with college degrees making a reasonable income. I would guess that many of them are two-earner families with homes they are paying for. They, we, are isolated in a way, living on a shrinking island of middle-class comfort. If nothing is done to address our broken economy, if we don’t demand that something be done, the island will eventually be swallowed up by the sea and we will join the millions of other Americans treading water merely to stay alive.

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