My idealistic views are shaken out of whack in every election cycle. I hate that only the uber rich hold office, and those who live in the trenches stay there. We elect representatives to serve us, yet most of those people haven’t a clue about our paradigm. I’m talking about people who would suck at Cliffhangers, Hi Lo, or the Check Out game on The Price Is Right.
Politicians on all sides talk about the “economy” in big business, lofty terms. They never speak of personal experience and only know the “common man” as an allegorical character in a stump speech. Michelle Obama has been known to shop at Target, so she probably has a better handle on how we everyday Joes and Janes live. Ann Romney, not so much. Remember how she spoke of tough times when she and Mitt were in college? "They were not easy years ... Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time." Yeah, because most of us are in a position to sell off stock that we inherited to pay for college.
In my own life, things are fine. We are not struggling or in debt or fearful of providing for our sons. We pay more for goods and gas, but I know that the President wields little control over those things. My husband and I both have a good education and work experience. He is gainfully employed in the private sector, and I have my own marketing consulting and writing business. We live within our means and pinch pennies, but I am still in a position to buy organic milk for my kids and pay for a couple weeks of summer camp. We are not scrimping, but I did admittedly sell some gold a while back. I used the proceeds to pay my student loan. Life for us is less decadent than in years past, but our hardships are laughable compared to what many Americans are facing (including those who share the same education and upbringing we enjoy). My consulting business has faltered, and I earn less than half of what my income was five years ago. It’s a huge hit to our lifestyle, but we are not hurting.
I know what it is to live so that getting rid of the cleaning lady and not traveling to Europe every other summer as planned isn't real hardship. I realize what a charmed life we live, and our cuts have been to discretionary spending. For this I am grateful, and in a show of gratitude, I have pledged to speak out and support those less fortunate. Luckily we do not have to make the Sophie’s Choice of finances every month -- food or rent. My family has health insurance, a lovely house, and food to grace our table. We are healthy. Most importantly, we know life can change in an instant so we save, we invest, we live within our means. In a word, we are responsible, which is more than I can say for corporations.
Private sector businesses will tell you about cuts and losses and hardship. They will wax on about expenses and difficult times. The whole woe-is-me act is disingenuous at best, full blown lying at worst. CEOs continue to take home obscene amounts of money on the backs of hardworking, dedicated Americans. In an unseemly twist of irony, they get paid bonuses for laying off workers. It’s criminal really. It’s proof that trickle down economics doesn’t work. So from this perspective, private sector businesses, rather the head honchos in the C-suites, are doing fine. They are sorely out of touch, just like our politicians. All I can do is continue to be a voice for so many disenfranchised and suffering among us. Though I don’t live in the same paradigm, I do have an appreciation for those struggles because I have been there.
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