Surviving the Hustle Economy Part One: A Bleak Economic Picture
Huge Economic Disparity
I’m sure most of you don’t need me to tell you this but we live in a “dog-eat-dog” “survival of the fittest” economy. Unfortunately, it’s an economy where every winner (usually an older white make) generates a loser (usually a minority). In fact, 15.1 percent of Americans (46 million) live in poverty. Of those 46 million, African Americans have the highest rate of poverty at 27.4% followed by Hispanics at 26.6%. Even more alarming, 45.8% of young black children live in poverty! Not exactly the American dream…
The Working Poor
Poverty rates have been rising steadily since 1973 when it was only 11.1%. Poverty level wages are considered less than $11.06 an hour. Those making this pittance of pay are disproportionately female, black, Hispanic, or between the ages of 18 and 25.
Nearly half the poor (44.3%) live in deep poverty meaning they make less than $11,057 a year for a family of four. As you can imagine, starvation, disease, shelter and safety are the primary concerns for these 20+ million Americans.
Very Little Government Help
The United States spends less on social programs to help the poor (16.2 percent of GDP) than similarly developed countries, like England, who spend on average 21.3% of GDP. That means there are far fewer resources and programs to help the poor in the US. In red states (Republican controlled), the percentage is even lower! Blue states, like California and Oregon, spend more. Leadership in red states also tends to be more male, white, and older. Not ironically, these older white men also tend to be the biggest winners in the US economy. They are the furthest removed from a struggling black or Hispanic family or poverty in general.
The Struggling Middle Class
While the poor in our country suffers under capitalism, middle class America is also struggling. One of the main reasons is the cost of living in the United States has grown 30% over the last 13 years. Wage increases have only increased 28%. This is leaving Americans scrambling to use credit cards and other loans to pay for basic needs like food, shelter, and medicine.
The average US middle class household now owes on average $180,000 for their homes, $51,000 for their student loans, $30,000 for their auto loans, and $17,000 for their credit cards.
They spend between $144 and $180 on food per week–a record high. The average American spends about $10,500 on their taxes each year. That’s about 14% to 20% of their income!
The people who pay the most taxes are the middle class and middle-aged. If you run a small business, the IRS really comes after you. They tax the income from your business at about 10% and then they tax the same money again as your personal income at about a 15% rate. The reason: the IRS hates entrepreneurs. They would much rather you go work in government or for corporation and be part of military industrial complex system that benefits them the most. Entrepreneurs, innovation and creativity are all direct threats to the status quo and to old white power and control in general.
Then there’s the issue of inflation. Did you know that in this fractal reserve financial system in the US, most money doesn’t exist until it’s borrowed? That’s right, as long as the banks maintain a 10% withholding of the money they receive from the government, they are free to create money as soon as there is a demand. That means every time someone signs a loan document with a bank, or takes out a credit card, money and debt are created out of thin air. This, along with interest rates set by the IRS that can never be repaid, creates inflation.
How does this loan money the bank creates have value? It borrows it from your money!!! The more money that is created out of thin air, the less valuable the money is and all of our pockets. It’s a secret tax–one we never voted for.
The current rate of inflation is 2.9%. That means that this year your money will devalue 2.9% automatically!
We are all hard-working people, right? Most Americans work 40-plus hours a week. So why is it then that all of our hard work, hours sacrificed away from our families, energy and life force that we spend are not enough to cover our basic needs?
That’s because we live in a system that is designed to keep us in debt. Debt is a weapon banks and our government use to keep us distracted, exhausted, stressed out, and not paying attention to what they’re doing.
If you make over $250,000 a year, your tax rate is about 5%. You also have access to the lowest interest rates on your home and car loans and your credit cards with all kinds of perks. When you’re rich, it’s easy to get richer. Statistics prove this point. In 2015, the top 1 percent of families in the US made more than 25 times what families in the bottom 99% percent did.
So why do Republicans continue to oppose any legislation that requires the rich to pay a fair tax rate? Because Republicans in Congress are almost all rich white men with deep connections and loyalties to our banking system! They represent the banks, not the people. They write the tax code!
Strategies to Survive the Hustle Economy
I’ve just described a really bleak picture of the US economy. But you’re not powerless! In fact, you can become the greatest weapon against this system. Click on part two of this article to read more.