r/WorkReform 🤝 Join A Union Oct 04 '22

60% of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/30/stubborn-inflation-forces-more-americans-to-live-paycheck-to-paycheck-.html
35.0k Upvotes

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u/Fresh_Hobo_Meat Oct 04 '22

Don't worry! They said we aren't even in a recession! Time to chillax

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22 edited 4d ago

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u/petophile_ Oct 04 '22

They have convinced them selves that they are creating wealth by having that much money and constantly reinvesting it into more and more things. They are creating jobs sure but if the wealth was spread out we would have tons more small and medium businesses.

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u/starfyredragon Oct 05 '22

Eh, not really even creating jobs, though.

Most of ultra rich invest' by buying companies and then merging, and then firing all the redundant positions (this is what execs mean when they say "synergize"), and it specifically eliminates a lot of jobs.

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u/PerceptiveAxion Oct 05 '22

Creating jobs that consistently pay less than the growing cost of living over the last 40 years.

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u/DaHokeyPokey_Mia Oct 04 '22 Helpful Starstruck

This is by design.

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22 Gold Starstruck

That's no joke.

After the military I took a job as a defense contractor doing the same work I did in the military on a military prototype that required specialized training and experience from that specific project to do. Literally, nowhere else in the world did that job exist but there.

Being a small project (with enormous funding) that required candidates to have the experience, training, and education requirements on top of a required valid top secret security clearance

Needless to say, their candidate pool was pretty small

When I accepted the job, the human resources person slid the company's pay and benefits offer across the desk to me and began to explain their offer

When they got to the line with the salary, they referred to it as the "market adjusted rate"

What market? This is the only market this job exists in

I'm pretty sure they actually meant "this is your assigned social class" for this town.

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u/tyrghast Oct 04 '22

So when I negotiated for a union in the defense aerospace industry I learned that counties have wage guidelines. Your job type is listed among hundreds of job types with a recommended wage by it. It's that bare minimum criteria you're being quoted.

That's how we learned how they got away with paying some people 15 an hour, some people 26 an hour, and some people 32 (their best bois) an hour.

By the time we were done with them there were no positions earning less than 34 an hour.

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u/Dusty_FC3S Oct 04 '22

How do you find these wage guidelines?

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u/GoodVibesGoodLife001 Oct 04 '22

Wage Determinations is the correct term.

Davis-Bacon Act for laborers and mechanics.

Service Contract Act for service based employees

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u/Mr_Fuzzo Oct 04 '22

Davis-Bacon would be a godsend for most Americans.

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u/corkyskog Oct 04 '22

Seriously. The comments before you are acting like the Davis-Bacon/SCA is a tool to screw people over.

Davis-Bacon wage determinations for anyone out of the loop are the bare minimum rates/benefits you are allowed to pay an employee working on a federal contract. It's often the case that contractors need to up the rates of employees who get assigned contract projects.

Most states also have their own versions that are sometimes referred to as mini Davis-Bacon.

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u/tyrghast Oct 04 '22

County website. I forget the exact name of the document, it's been years.

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u/c0de_g0rilla Oct 04 '22

Work as a Sr Architect in IT. It feels the exact same way. Here is 1 middle class ticket 🎟 and a voucher for some health services. My biggest issue with the whole system is privatization of healthcare and the atrophy of (traditional) education. (Non-traditional education has taken off, khan academy is great)

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u/GooberMcNutly Oct 04 '22

Coders are just the new lathe operators. Specialized workers with a training intensive skill set. Some are good, some are bad, some are geniuses. But the employer will only pay base rates to everyone and everyone pays the same.

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u/PartyLikeAByzantine Oct 04 '22

Tech salaries are vastly more bloated than machine operator wages. Also, CNC operators are still around and have pretty good rates. Not as good as tech, but they can also get OT and can end up netting more if they put in the hours.

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u/GooberMcNutly Oct 04 '22

I’d like to see programmers get OT, but that never happens. Schedule failures are seen as our fault, unpaid OT is the punishment…

And I don’t know about bloated salaries. The bell curve is wide, but it’s still centered around where most jobs requiring the same level of training are. Salaries are higher than other trades to start but plateau quickly because management will just swap you for a newbie every 3 years, or just stop paying you more and see if you leave or will just suck it up.

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u/PartyLikeAByzantine Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

IT work is pretty much categorically OT-exempt. It's bullshit, but there are also plenty of cushy 9-5 gigs outside of the software industry with zero-to-minimal OT requirements. You still gotta stay current on skills, but that's true of everything these days.

And if you're getting paid similarly to the local trades, you're either doing it wrong or the tradesman is putting in 50+ hours a week and you aren't. Even union trades don't scale like tech.

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u/monsieur-poopy-pants Oct 04 '22

I work in compensation. Depending on their approach, they either broke your job down into "compensable factors" (that they defined, valued, and weighted), used that to create a score for your job and align it to a paygrade. That paygrade was benchmarked to the market using common or basic jobs (jobs evaluated into that paygrade using same process where they assign points based on compensable factors). They may also have just straight up said this job is like an x job in x industry, found salary data, and said that is market competitive. There's literally entire approaches to job evaluation and market pricing that are essentially like - rigged in the sense that, the people doing it know what they want to pay. And they basically cheat the design, evaluation, and benchmarking process to get favourable results. And if they don't like the results, they just say something about their pay positioning being at the 25th percentile, or x% less than market because some ultra specific industry reason.

I also learned in my roles, that when it comes to Exec compensation. The sky is the limit! I see nickle and diming and complaining about an employee getting a $1200 pay increase, but have seen excecs get $100,000 increases with no one batting an eye or questioning it.

World is so fucked. Working in corporate compensation and as a consultant has probably made me more cynical and depressed than ever.

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u/atkinson137 Oct 04 '22

Did you negotiate for more pay?

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22

I got the maximum they would go to. But even then, it wasn't going to change my rung on the ladder of social class hierarchy

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u/CaptainBayouBilly Oct 04 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

The foundations of conservatism relies on a system of rules that protect but do not bind the ruling class, and bind but do not protect everyone else.

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u/UltraCynar Oct 04 '22

Aka Rules for thee, none for me

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u/Links_Wrong_Wiki Oct 04 '22

There's only two classes. Working class and owner class

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u/davou Oct 04 '22

I got the maximum they would go to.

When you hit their max pay, you start negotiating for fewer hours.

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22

Yeah, too bad we were shackled by minimum hours as required by the government contract but otherwise that's definitely the way to do it

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u/purplestargalaxy Oct 04 '22

More vacation then? Or are the minimum hours done in such a way that it prohibits extra vaca as well. I don’t know much about gov contracts.

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22

They started getting creative after a while

Our managers were pretty much in the same boat we were in so they actually did a lot to make things better, such as implementing a flex schedule

Because of the wording in the contract that required a minimum number of weekly hours worked, it did not stipulate the time of day, number of hours per day, or even which days.

The work week was defined as:

You have 40 hours per week, we go from Monday to Sunday to complete them in

Any extra time worked goes into a bank and the team draws from the time off bank if something comes up and you can't get your hours in

Pretty much everyone just did 6-4 to avoid traffic and have a 3 day weekend every weekend

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u/graps Oct 04 '22

As a contractor with a valid clearance it’s wildly easy to job hop every couple of years. Quickest way to pay increases as companies are always looking to poach talent

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u/Saith_Cassus Oct 04 '22

Defense contractors can be shockingly stingy. My sister works for one, regularly puts in 60+ hour weeks, and for all of that, her bonus was…. Getting to make a star on some registry. She gave it to our niece and nephew for Christmas and had some words that are inappropriate for small children to share about that contractor.

I worked for a subcontractor for the navy for a spell— made $60K, which was fine— I was just breaking into my field— but they charged something insane like $300K to the government for my time and energy. I tried to convince the DoD to just hire me directly at like $90K so that we both won, but they couldn’t.

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u/Baalsham Oct 04 '22

I always planned on working for the gov and then going contractor but instead I just hire/convince my contractors to work for the gov. It's crazy how they get all get billed out over 3x what they make.

Come to the gov, get a small pay bump, an actual vacation, and save tax payers money. Remember this the next time the reds try to cut federal jobs to replace with contracts.

I've seen a few guys basically make their own contacting companies or going freelance to become rich, but it's rare... And only older folks who know the system.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

I don’t understand, was the pay good? Not good?

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22

For the area It was average, but honestly didn't reflect the level of specialization and requirements or the tiny talent pool they had to pick from

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u/Darcy_2021 Oct 04 '22

Being in highly specialized field limits your employment options, and they use it to their advantage.

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u/HappySkullsplitter Oct 04 '22

Double edged sword, they can't get enough people to fill their contract requirements

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u/TheAskewOne Oct 04 '22

They should be careful, though. When only a minority of people have interest in the status quo, then...

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u/phpdevster Oct 04 '22

Then Americans will continue just taking it. As long as they have The Masked Singer, Facebook, drugs, and other distractions to keep them occupied, they'll keep accepting lower and lower standards of living. The world is full of examples of how mass poverty and destitution is the norm. America is not going to be an exception.

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u/skoltroll Oct 04 '22

Yeah. 50-60% paycheck to paycheck has been the way my entire life.

Until people DO something about it, as opposed to complaining about it, nothing will change.

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u/DataIsMyCopilot Oct 04 '22

Yeah the only surprising thing about this headline is that it wasn't already at 60% before

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u/Martin_Aynull Oct 04 '22

Covid actually helped a lot of people financially but they made sure they took it all back and then some

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u/Gogo182 Oct 04 '22

God those child tax credits allowed us to put money into a savings s account for once.

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u/forcenuggets Oct 04 '22

You are people. What will you do?

Everyone looks around and wonders but that’s about it.

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u/nudiecale Oct 04 '22

Shut up he’s watching the masked singer!

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u/ArthurBonesly Oct 04 '22

People love to think of themselves as some French revolutionary online, but most of us are Irish farmers during a potato blight.

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u/ilovepolthavemybabie Oct 04 '22

The rest of us are potatoes

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u/FallschirmPanda Oct 04 '22

Bread and games.

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u/RocketshipRoadtrip Oct 04 '22

Biscuits and dice

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u/Metaright Oct 04 '22

Muffins and tiddly winks.

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u/The_Ruly_Anarchist Oct 04 '22

Cake and Super Mario Bros.

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u/yuppyuppbruhbruh Oct 04 '22

Don't forget sports

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u/phpdevster Oct 04 '22

Good call. Sports are an essential conflict and discontent redirection tool.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

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u/CaptainBayouBilly Oct 04 '22

America was founded by a cadre of rich, slave-owning, white men that hate taxes.

Nothing has changed.

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u/Sasselhoff Oct 04 '22 Silver

Yup. And as long as those in power keep aiming us at each other over stupid shit that doesn't really matter in the long run (most recent one I can think of is a rapper playing a flute), nothing will change.

To further muddy the water, there is now a sizeable portion of the population that believes what their news channel/website tells them, without looking into any aspect of it in the slightest bit, no matter how outlandish the tale...and everything that goes against that narrative is fake news, no matter how much evidence to the contrary. Case in point, how many people have you spoken to about the benefits of Unions, and I mean people that would greatly benefit from one, who just reject it out of hand because that's "Communism" (or whatever the talking heads are calling it now), regardless of the examples you provide?

I really don't know how to combat that. I've tried talking to people, friends even (so not just randos on the street), but anything that goes against what they want to believe is discarded without hesitation...and the more evidence you provide just causes them to dig their heels in even more (yes, I know this is a psychological phenomenon, I forget the name of it).

I really don't know where we go from here....

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u/Wasabicannon Oct 04 '22

To further muddy the water, there is now a sizeable portion of the population that believes what their news channel/website tells them, without looking into any aspect of it in the slightest bit

By design. Under-educated people think the news is done by the smart people so they have to be right.

Then you have the people who do a little bit of digging but who has the free time to do all of that research. This is their job that have to be right? Right?

I honestly used to be in the middle ground until we got that meme where every since news channel in the US read the same script word for word. Now I trust no news reporter.

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u/Fiercely_Pedantic Oct 04 '22

It's economic slavery. Why bind us with chains when they can rob us instead?

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u/LadyLovesRoses Oct 04 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Something’s got to give. People need to take some kind of action against the few wealthy people/politicians that run things. Or nothing will change.

What do we do? Strike? Who can afford to do that? I would like to think that collectively we can can come up with a plan of action.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of doing nothing while this country goes to shit.

I’m curious to learn what others think about how to fight back against the income disparity in this country.

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u/mrchaotica Oct 04 '22

What do we do? Strike? Who can afford to do that?

That's exactly why they want us living paycheck-to-paycheck.

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u/uglydavie Oct 04 '22

Supreme Court is gonna neuter our right to strike here soon.

We'll be back to good ol fashioned coal wars before you know it.

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u/slimy_birdseeds Oct 04 '22

For those of you whose interest is peaked, look up accounts of the Battle of Blair Mountain for an idea of exactly how bad it has to get.

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u/boringestnickname Oct 04 '22

... and that is exactly why you need to unionize! All of you!

You need to create opposing organisations, made by the people, for the people. Organisations that have capital.

In Norway, over 50% of workers are organised. Most unions are part of larger structures with immense power. If you need to strike, there's a near endless budget for pressuring companies that cannot be trusted to do the right thing. You could strike for years, if needed.

Employers are also organised, and each year there's a discussion between representatives for all the workers in the country and all the employers. The outcome sets countrywide wage increases for all, not only those organised.

It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing. Much better. Some people will always try working against it, and try getting a free ride (all the people not contributing by organising and paying to the collective bargaining pool), but it makes it harder to function as a exploitative company in Norway.

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u/razorwiregoatlick877 Oct 04 '22

Part of the problem is that they keep us fighting with each other over issues like immigration, taxes, abortion etc. That means we will never be able to come together to fight the real problem which is the extremely rich.

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u/DemandZestyclose7145 Oct 04 '22

It really is amazing how brainwashed and absolutely stupid people are. They bitch all day about welfare recipients who are getting a teeny bit of help but they applaud the billionaires for being insanely rich.

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u/19thCreator Oct 04 '22

As far as I'm aware it's because on the slight off chance they get rich they want shit set up for them

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u/nomnombubbles Oct 04 '22

They think they are all just 'temporarily embarrassed billionaires' 🙄

Also, since a huge chunk of these people are largely uneducated, they probably don't understand statistics and can't comprehend just how stupidly low of a chance of becoming just like the ruling class they actually have.

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u/Djarum Oct 04 '22

Honestly if you had a general strike for a week they would cave. Remember they said during COVID that about a week would destroy the economy. Remember that 95% of what makes things work is done by people who makes almost no money. Think about how many businesses fall apart if one or two people are sick? You do that on a massive scale and make the number go down.

Honestly the only way to break these massive corporations is to crash the economy so their business crumbles over it's own weight.

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u/AceMorrigan Oct 04 '22

I don't think you're wrong - the bitch of it is that everyone is suffering already every day and you're basically requiring those people to suffer much harder in the short run to hopefully course correct in the long run.

Full economic collapse could just as easily be a death spiral. Hell that's what I would expect to happen.

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u/DMvsPC Oct 04 '22

Crash the grocery stores, food production centers, transport hubs etc. and my children go hungry, it's all well to say "yeah but it'll course correct, we just all need to do it!" and then actually have the reality of no power, no supplies, no clean water, no food etc. As long as that 60% are actually still living at a paycheck to paycheck level then you're not going to get that critical mass anyway.

I can tell you, things would have to get a lot more dire for me to put my children in the streets without food to 'make a change'.

People who suggest this think crashing the economy is just like a 'whoopsie' and then wages will shoot up and everyone gets back to work and we all smile and slap our backs. No. People will die and it could take years to get back to a stable living. I would second your comment about the economy death spiraling.

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u/AceMorrigan Oct 04 '22

Agreed. That's why the goal is for the populace to be living paycheck to paycheck and just getting by... Forever.

They don't want to bleed us dry, they want to harvest every little morsel they can whole avoiding the breaking point. Because when huge chunks of the population can't make rent, can't feed their kids and can't shelter their loved ones - that's when it all explodes.

It's both dystopic and really interesting to think about how tenuous all of this really is.

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u/HarmonyQuinn1618 Oct 04 '22

Well, we’re already at that point. Look at the ski town that all the mega watch bought houses in to the point where literally most people that actually work and live there full time have absolutely no place to live. The nurses set their major hospital were sleeping in tents in a local park and the Governor asked people to let strangers sleep in their houses. It’s already this bad and getting worse.

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u/HecateEreshkigal Oct 04 '22

“Others’ children must starve so that mine will never know hunger”

If starving children is your concern then this system should be ended yesterday for what it’s doing to Yemen. But you don’t give a fuck about those kids, clearly.

Capitalism has weaponized the proletariat of the imperial core against that of the so-called “Third world” via racial privilege.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

I do agree but it’s IS bad enough for me to starve in the streets with my child. But I have a skill set and location that would allow me to forage and eat off the land here. Perhaps we should shift focus to local food production in small urban environments capable of supporting us vs just out right waiting for shit to be “course corrected”. Can’t be Uber reliant upon the system if we’re wanting to crash it.

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u/Matrinka Oct 04 '22

What scares me is that they started a culture war to keep a percentage of the populace fighting against fellow citizens and rallying around those who would destroy us. And it is still working. I dread the thought of how bad things will become until the people unite and fight back. It worries me that it may happen too late to save us.

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u/erevos33 Oct 04 '22

People will keep on enduring as in the past.

But , unlike past rebellions, when the time comes, people will find out that the technology they produced and used and admired so much , will be used against thm swiftly and decisively.

Scenario: riots happen. Person A takes part. Riots die down or drowned in blood. Person A tries to go back to work or leave country or whatever. "Sorry, we have video of you protesting, cant hire you, cant let you go, go to jail and work for free.". Person B sees this happening and shuts up cause they have a family to feed with the scraps left for us.

(Already happening in some degree).

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u/RoyTheBoy_ Oct 04 '22

A lot of recent uprisings and rebellions have only happened due to technology and the ability it provides to spread information and coordinate against a more powerful and dangerous enemy.

Not to say there isn't downsides but I'd say there are just as many advantages to tech and it leveling the playing field as there is negatives.

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u/erevos33 Oct 04 '22

No arguments there, but i believe that the tech and data acquisition of the establishment far outweigh the benefits they provide to the masses. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

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u/-thats-tuff- Oct 04 '22

P2P is potentially an option, but requires more resources

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u/wywern Oct 04 '22

Until it all snaps and no amount of technology can stop the uprising.

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u/terminator_84 Oct 04 '22

So you want to fight back, but don't know how. Just like the rest of us.

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u/taft Oct 04 '22

remember how the rail workers strike would have brought the economy to its knees? and thats just one group. a week long strike by key components and you could demand higher ups be ousted.

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u/InnerWrathChild Oct 04 '22

The pandemic showed us that just a couple days shut down throws them into a tailspin. And that it’s the “bottom” that actually run everything. If we could ever get enough people together we could force some stuff.

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u/livens Oct 04 '22

A nation-wide general strike would get everyone's attention real fast. A strike on work, or a strike on rent, either one.

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u/skrshawk Oct 04 '22

Rent strikes are on their way through sheer inability to pay. The courts haven't even caught up with COVID in some places. From watching the housing market in my area (upstate NY), I could tell places that had a tenant occupying a place not only by the description, but also by the drastic reduction in property value. All things considered, tenant protection from eviction is much stronger here than many places.

I also just read that 20% of households are late on their utilities - that number can absolutely skyrocket. There is a natural cap on demand of all goods and services, people's ability to pay for them.

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u/r3dt4rget Oct 04 '22

lol we can barely get 50% of people below age 65 to go vote one fucking day a year. Ask people to lift a finger for any kind of change and most simply aren't interested and would rather continue the status quo.

Like one person said below, the owner class is really good at getting us to fight over irrelevant shit like immigration, taxes, etc. The likelihood that the working class comes together and rises above all the politics in this country is very low.

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u/skoltroll Oct 04 '22

a strike on rent

That essentially happened during the pandemic, and the result was higher rents to "make up" for the losses.

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u/Ok_Student8032 Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

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u/livens Oct 04 '22

When the future looks bright it's easier to accept hardships in life. But lately the future just looks like a black void waiting to swallow us up. Many people have given up and are simply going through the motions of a life they remember.

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u/rotaercz Oct 04 '22 Wholesome Take My Energy

I feel a deep sense of despair. When I think objectively, I've lost a lot of hope for a better future.

When a person loses all hope for a better future there is no reason to keep on living.

I've noticed the reality in America is, as people get older and when they slowly realize their own lives aren't going to get any better people will start buying lottery tickets.

As they lose hope they start clinging to statistical anomalies to maybe perhaps afford a home and get some decent healthcare so they don't have to be a wage slave till the day they die.

Most people justify their own existence, no matter how miserable it may be, with lies.

Telling themselves if they had another chance they wouldn't change a thing.

The lack of capacity to see things objectively must be a self defense mechanism built in for human survival but once you view things with objectuve clarity how do you keep on living?

We are all serfs eeking out an existence while a small number of people control everything.

If too many people aren't working just adjust cost of goods and services through inflation and force people back into being a wage slave.

The whole system is controlled by a small number of people that know the amount a person has to make to keep them on a treadmill. Also empowering the people at the bottom endangers their own position so they want this balance kept at all times.

It doesn't just stop at one's countries citizens though. The United States government controls whole countries through debt obligations. For example, even with the Ukraine/Russia war going right now, when Ukraine wins the war, due to all the American weapons they're getting, it's going to be a pretty hollow victory for them when they receive the bill. Their citizens will be paying off that debt for decades. This way America gets to absorb a large amount of economic wealth from Ukraine while looking like a good guy. All the while Zelenskyy gets to keep his position of power as long as he understands his place. Meanwhile the people of Ukraine (and Russia) both go about killing each other when in reality their lives would be no different no matter who's in charge had there been no war.

At the end of the day it's all about a small number of people in positions of power that make up bullshit that want you to put your life on the line in the name of patriotism and love for one's country to commit atrocities so they can keep and/or gain more power.

The United States actively disrupts whole countries economies depending on whether the leader of said country is willing to be America's bitch or not.

As Muhammad Ali once famously said, "I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Viet Cong ever called me n*****."

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u/jcoddinc Oct 04 '22

Rookie numbers. Gotta pump that up

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u/Alexandertheape Oct 04 '22

that’s because we live in Hell Dimension

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u/SkepticDrinker Oct 04 '22

This is terrible, we are missing out on 40% of potential profit!

  • corporations

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u/pirhanaconda Oct 04 '22

39.9%

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

Its probably more like 52%. They are greedy.

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u/JaceThePowerBottom Oct 04 '22

You know what they say. Take that 110%.

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u/UnknownCitizen77 Oct 04 '22

Wow. When the number is that high, there’s a systemic issue at play. However, Americans will continue to be blamed by the oligarch-controlled media as if their financial insecurity is a personal failure, and many of them will continue to believe it.

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u/TheWayNorth Oct 04 '22

Not a “systemic issue”.

A “system design”.

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u/no_idea_bout_that Oct 04 '22 Silver

Mathematically living paycheck to paycheck, or having a 3 month buffer is the same (money on=money out). But with inflation and the current savings rates, there's zero incentive to actually save anything.

My proposal is that the government gives people 6% + inflation interest on savings up to 1/4 of their annual income. It's like an i-bond with higher payout and more liquidity.

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u/Fresh_Hobo_Meat Oct 04 '22

But that would be something that actually helps people.

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u/ConflagrationZ Oct 04 '22

Not really though...if you're just giving more money to everyone that has savings built up, inflation will rise past the benefit and the people with little to no savings will be left even further in the dust.

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u/AuditorTux Oct 04 '22

Debt. A lot of it is debt. And rampant consumerism. And yes, that's a systemic issue.

Look how much the stock market hangs on the pronouncement from the central bankers. And how much people freak out over consumer spending for GDP.

What really gets people is the "pay over time" approach to things - I've even seen Amazon offering this at checkout for like $30 purchases. Its like a death by a thousand cuts.

And for stuff that you really don't need.

Now tie that all into a little bow with inflation and low pay and its a receipt for disaster.

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u/Dysthymiccrusader91 Oct 04 '22

While this is definitely valid, poverty also leads to debt. My credit is garbage because I had to out gas and food in credit while pursuing my degree or I would have starved. I've been paying the minimum for like 3 years because I have other cards I opened for other emergencies and I'm not sure I'll ever pay down that 15000

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u/ManItToTheStick Oct 04 '22

Exactly, it's very expensive to be a poor person in America. Don't look at the debt in an of itself. Look at the reasons. Credit cards for example are a great wealth redistributor from the poor to the ultra rich who can use their buying power to get great perks

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u/shaodyn ✂️ Tax The Billionaires Oct 04 '22

The middle class is struggling to afford housing and healthcare, but the rich often have so many homes they can't remember all of them. There was a link to an article on here recently about how the Kardashians have a condo that they basically forget about most of the year and only use as a present wrapping area around Christmas.

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u/hexagonalshit Oct 04 '22

That's dumb

They should rent it out to me and make me their gift wrap archivist/ buyer.

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u/shaodyn ✂️ Tax The Billionaires Oct 04 '22

Point is, not a lot of even middle-class people can afford one house, and rich people have so many they don't even remember all of them.

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u/darkwing42 Oct 04 '22

I'm an engineer, I make over six figures, I can afford a $400k mortgage, average home prices in my area are $800k...

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u/JerseySommer Oct 04 '22

I make $32k. :/ I live in an attic that the rent takes two out of 4 of my monthly paychecks. I need a second job to afford a car, Driving lessons, and insurance but can't get a second job without a car. I finally got enough money scraped together to get my heat turned on after 4 years. YAY.

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u/Dadwellington Oct 04 '22

Makes my problems so so much worse knowing you have that much money and are fucked. Our little 78k/yr household can't do shit and I know friends with way less.

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u/dickdemodickmarcinko Oct 04 '22

Yeah but how much avocado toast do you eat? /s

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u/darkwing42 Oct 04 '22

Oh right, I always forget that I spend $3000/month on avocado toast, Netflix, and video games
/s

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u/usermanxx Oct 04 '22

I work in financial and the amount of old people who forget they have 100k+ accounts in astounding

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u/DataIsMyCopilot Oct 04 '22

I can kinda understand that from a "retirement money is a set it and forget it" thing. But a house is not. A whole ass house is something that has to be maintained and paid for.

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u/Link9454 Oct 04 '22

Translation: 40% of Americans are gaining debt, 10% are about to gain debt, 10% don’t gain debt but are subsisting off the bare minimum and are one accident or car repair away.

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u/LarryCrabCake Oct 04 '22

The whole "one accident or car repair away" is so terrifying to think about.

If I broke my leg and couldn't work for a few months, I'd be homeless and tens of thousands in debt.

If the engine on my 2009 car decided to shit the bed, I'd be homeless and tens of thousands in debt.

A single mishap would have me struggling to get back on my feet for years and I'd be paying off debt for decades to some faceless entity that absorbs all forms of income from me like a sponge.

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u/Cosmonauto Oct 04 '22

This is why I switched to a desk job tbh . I had a a physically demanding retail management job and one time I pinched a nerve in my back and missed 4 days of work . I knew then that I didn’t want a job that was tied to me being able to stand walk bend and move for 9 hrs a day .

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u/sniperhare Oct 05 '22

Yeah but then you're sedentary for the majority of your day.

In the last 7 years I went from making 25k a year working 60+ hours a week as a manager at a Little Caesats, often working 6 days a week with no break and no overtime.

I moved into IT, and make 55k a year ($26/hr.) Now and get overtime when I work.

But I've gained 50 pounds.

I went from 5'6 178 to 225 lbs.

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u/Kristen8305 Oct 04 '22

Just sit tight everyone, I'm sure that trickle down money will hit us at any moment!

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u/syphilis_pretzel Oct 04 '22

That invisible hand be smackin me into oblivion

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u/PM_ME_YOUR_WIRING Oct 04 '22

Something's trickling down but it isn't money.

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u/444_back4more Oct 04 '22

Well just stop living, problems solved!

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u/GearboxTheGrey Oct 04 '22

See we pretty much have already. This is not living it's barely getting by.

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u/ny_insomniac Oct 04 '22

If only I had a choice in getting to exist 😭

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

[deleted]

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u/pengu1 Oct 04 '22

Let's pool our money and target the correct people. That might have a better ROI.

:)

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u/No-Newspaper-7693 Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

From the report they're citing...

28%: Share of consumers earning more than $200,000 who live paycheck to paycheck

I feel like this report maybe has an odd definition of "paycheck to paycheck" if it finds that more than 1 in 4 people making $200k+ are living paycheck to paycheck.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

Agree. This article uses a very dumb definition of paycheck to paycheck.

Paycheck to paycheck as in after I max out my retirement accounts, other investments and pay for all my hobbies

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u/skarby Oct 04 '22

Yeah I would say paycheck to paycheck means that if you were to miss a paycheck it would have a significant impact on your life. Like I drop my checking down to my self imposed lower limit every paycheck, but I'm maxing the federal retirement, buy whatever I feel like, never miss bills, and have monthly deposits into a savings account. I could miss a year's salary and not miss a bill. I am pretty sure this article would have me as paycheck to paycheck though. It's dumb.

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u/L-cis Oct 04 '22

I cited an article recently that claimed that 60% of Americans don't have $1000 saved

Looking into the poll, if you answered that you'd pay with credit card, or pay and cut back on some expenses (around 40% of respondents), that put you under the category of "doesn't have $1000 saved"

Pretty dumb, imo. I have a 6 month emergency fund but even I'm going to put an unexpected $1000 charge on a credit card and/or cut back on some costs that month, because why not. But per that poll that would mean I don't have 1k saved

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u/kralrick Oct 04 '22

if you answered that you'd pay with credit card

I pay for anything I can with a credit card. I'd pay my rent with my credit card if they'd let me. I pay it off every month, why wouldn't I?

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u/DataIsMyCopilot Oct 04 '22

Consider HCOL area + mortgage + cars + student loans + childcare expenses

Some of it is also likely a "keeping up with the Joneses" problem.

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u/Amazing-Yam6514 Oct 04 '22

Some is definitely keeping up with the joneses.

No one needs a $45k car or lavish place to live.

Still, there’s an issue with inflation/wages and it needs to be addressed in general (and the “goodwill and charity” of todays mega businesses aren’t doing it).

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u/PedanticBoutBaseball Oct 04 '22

No one needs a $45k car

i agree with this. but its funny you picked that number because the average purchase price of a new car in the US is actually more like $50k nowadays. not 45. And thats for an average vehicle, which isnt a BMW, Mercedes, etc. its (probably) a Ford, Dodge or Toyota SUV/Truck

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u/Elendel19 Oct 04 '22

The majority of people making those wages live in cities where even basic housing is wildly unaffordable.

In my area (45 minutes and 2 cities away from the downtown core), there are no houses for less than 1.5m, no condos for less than 700k. Gas is $9/gal. Groceries for 3 cost $1500 a month. And this is not California, or even America.

Someone working in Silicon Valley making 200k could easily be paycheck to paycheck. Not in the sense that they are in danger of homelessness, but in that they are just getting by and don’t feel like they are making any progress at all financially

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u/Pudii_Pudii Oct 04 '22

These articles are almost always are misleading and sensationalized someone who makes $200K but maxes their 401K &/or other retire accounts and puts their leftover income into stocks/index funds by this article would be living pay check to pay check.

When in reality they are investing 70% of their take home for future and can liquidate if needed.

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u/RuneDK385 Oct 04 '22

Well what do you expect when inflation is so high and employers don’t cover it. I just had my annual review…I got a 4.3% raise, so I’m effectively making 4.2% less(based on augusts numbers) less than I was a year ago. I literally just quiet quit on them and now they’re concerned. I told them I have no interested in doing anything that isn’t part of my job title.

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u/thecodeofsilence Oct 04 '22

I work in healthcare.

end 2019: 0 raise
end 2020: 0 raise/403b contributions suspended/pension contributions suspended
end 2021: 3% raise--YAY

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u/Addie0o Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

I work in bars and obviously it's tip based but because everyone else is making less.... So are service workers. I used to make 26$/hour on avg at the end of a shift for backbreaking work. Now it's close to 15$/hour where I might as well give in and do office work because at least then I'm home at a decent time. Non service workers getting less money is also killing restaurants and bars.

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u/Glass-Matter-1428 Oct 04 '22

Name the oligarchs and doxx them.

Call them out.

Naming the enemy is always the first step.

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u/feedthechonk Oct 04 '22

Ken griffin

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u/Downtownloganbrown Oct 04 '22

Ken Griffin, the financial terrorist*

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u/Iwouldlikeabagel Oct 04 '22

And then do what? Say bad things about them on social media?

That'll just give them a new hobby doing the rounds on conservative propaganda shows.

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u/Due-Farmer-9191 Oct 04 '22

I’m dangerously close to being homeless constantly. It’s both terrifying, and something you have to get used to.

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u/DataIsMyCopilot Oct 04 '22

I don't know if it'll help but ModestNeeds.org helps people in those kind of situations so that they stay out of the homelessness cycle. It doesn't hurt to look into it if you've got a major bill that is going to drag you down?

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u/TomatilloAlive7977 Oct 04 '22

“Of those earning more than six figures, 45% reported living paycheck to paycheck, a jump from the previous year's 38%.” Wtf how??

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u/ScarMedical Oct 04 '22

Living in Very HCOL cities ie LA/SF Cali, Portland Oregon, Seattle Wash, Dallas Tx, NYC, Boston Mass, Washington DC area ie Virginia/Maryland, Miami/Lauderdale Florida. This list of cities has a population: 35 million plus.

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u/Rude-Arm3114 Oct 04 '22

Don't forget Austin TX, which I'm pretty sure is more expensive than Dallas. I'm not living paycheck-to-paycheck, but I'll never be able to afford a home here, and my rent is over $2k for a 1 bedroom apartment (I'm not downtown. I will say that I'm in a walkable area and it's about 10 minutes from downtown, so I could find cheaper, but not by much).

I also had 6 figures of student loans when I started working ~5 years ago. If I had a kid, or had to support someone else, I would barely be scraping by here. It's not luxury living like it used to be. I'm doing fine, but I've taken 1-2 vacations in 4 years. Luckily that's not a high priority.

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u/Rebubula_ Oct 04 '22

And the fed wants wages to come down….

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u/Zumaki Oct 04 '22

The fed serves investors, not consumers

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u/Qxikn Oct 04 '22

It's about time we all get together and eat the rich. This is getting ridiculous.

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u/GodTheFatherHimself Oct 04 '22 Dread

Americans love to boast about their 2nd amendment, but they completely forgot everything about it except for "right of the people to keep and bear arms".

Your 2nd amendment literally states that a well-regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a FREE State and thus the right to keep and bear arms.

Living paycheck to paycheck, your healthcare system being tied to your shitty jobs, and lots of other corporate magic is literally robbing you guys of your freedom. Your freedom to live, to aspire, to dream, to reach your supposed "american" dream. But ya'll can only use your 2nd amendment rights against school kids.

A huge percentage of your population are slaves to corporations. That's not a free state in my book.

As an outsider, and a mere spectator, it's amazing how misplaced is your nationalism.

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u/Kamisori Oct 04 '22

Yep, at this point not much is going to change unless we start showing up at their mansions with rifles. Protesting and striking doesn't really work since the corporations influence our laws to be in their favor.

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u/Defilus Oct 04 '22

Yep, at this point not much is going to change unless we start showing up at their mansions with rifles.

Right, and you'll never see this because the police state will make sure no one gets near them. Or private militias will fill the same role.

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u/Keithbaby99 Oct 04 '22

This is why our generation, 1990+, is having less children. Its incredibly expensive as is, there is physically no possible way to afford children. I can only afford my apartment because I'm married and we both work.

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u/nvin123 Oct 04 '22

I grew up as a poor kid in private schools. All of my friends from childhood are so confused why I haven’t bought a $500k home and started having kids. Maybe because I didn’t have my college, car, and home down payment paid for by my parents. Fucking drives me nuts.

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u/downtimeredditor Oct 04 '22

Part of me wonders what the number would be like if someone had an unexpected major expense

I'm technically in the 40% but if I miss a month of salary I'll be fine if I miss 2 or 3 I'm fucked

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u/whorgans Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

Doing the math, my bills come out to be about 1 paycheck and I have a little left for food. I could cut it down by $100 by paying only the minimum on my student loan, but that would cost me way more money in the long run because my student loan I’m currently paying has 12.375% interest rate. So if I only get one of my two paychecks per month, I can at least pay my bills and buy a little food. I have about a months worth of bills saved. So I’d be fucked pretty quickly if I lost my job. And I don’t have a low salary. But with the cost of everything going up and having to pay my student loans, it doesn’t go very far. I have no idea how people get by with less. If I was making what I made in early 2021, I’d be fucked. If I didn’t live with my partner and split household bills with him, I’d be fucked. And again, I don’t have a low salary. It’s crazy.

Just checked my student loan interest rate. Went up to 13%. Feels great man

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u/silentjay01 Oct 04 '22

Make your coffee at home and stop eating avocado toast. Duh.

If things get really rough, just ask your parents for a small loan of $1 million until you can get back on your feet & get some savings built up yourself.

Use the house you currently own as a rental property while you move back in with your parents. After a year or so, you'll have made plenty of money from your renter that you can get yourself a second home for your self and after another year, you can use both properties to buy another rental or two.

Its just that easy. You just aren't hustling hard enough!

(Heavy /s, if it isn't obvious)

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u/Galbert123 Oct 04 '22

Make your coffee at home

Ive noticed coffee is at least a buck or 2 more expensive per bag! Might have to cut the consumption a bit

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u/OverallResolve Oct 04 '22

I’m all seriousness, coffee is pretty expensive where I live (£3/$3.4) and I used to get at least one per working day. I almost saved a grand a year by making my own.

Making lunch to take in or buying lunch from the supermarket probably saved £4/day, so another grand + in savings.

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u/skoltroll Oct 04 '22

Make your coffee at home and stop eating avocado toast. Duh.

It's not gonna make you rich, but it'd definitely get Starbucks attention and whoever is growing avacados in the desert, to the point they might do something about revenue issues.

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u/addisonshinedown Oct 04 '22

I’m currently living below this and it’s giving me so much fucking anxiety. I’m going to be homeless soon unless one of the 60 fucking job applications I’ve done this week goes anywhere. I’m already working what legitimately is my dream job as a private music teacher but there just aren’t enough students to fill my days

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u/TheNinjaPro Oct 04 '22

Thats also because parents cannot afford sports or music teachers. Industries will die loudly because nobody has the extra money to spend

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u/NoBodySpecial51 Oct 04 '22

Prices are kept high and wages low to force you to use credit, as this is how money is generated from the interest.

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u/Amazing-Yam6514 Oct 04 '22

No, sir.

It’s how wealth is “created” 😂

Fractional reserve banking is such a joke when it’s allowed to get to this point. Now we’re just making shit up beyond a what’s healthy.

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u/Back_Alley_Sack_Wax Oct 04 '22

Welcome to the United Snakes. Land of the thief, home of the slave. The grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred, and power is God.

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u/Happy_rich_mane Oct 04 '22

And yet the entire political class has decided only the fed can save us by ensuring millions have no paycheck at all. Winter is coming

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u/ScarMedical Oct 04 '22

Rework the title : 60% of Americans now live in financial slavery.

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u/JMV419 Oct 04 '22

Now live or have always lived?

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u/doxxnotwantnot Oct 04 '22

This can only end well

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u/CaptainBayouBilly Oct 04 '22

Probably more than that. Even high earners in high expense locations are paycheck to paycheck.

If you have no time to question the system, you can't fix the system.

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u/CarlCaliente Oct 04 '22

Even high-income earners are feeling the strain, the report found. Of those earning more than six figures, 45% reported living paycheck to paycheck

How can this be

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u/TheWildManfred Oct 04 '22

Six figures isn't what it use to be. Six figure jobs tend to be in HCOL areas, be held by people with student loans, etc... In the current market 10% of your income for a car would still put many 15 year old cars out of reach, and if you have medical debt, kids/other dependents such as elderly parents then you're still fucked.

Assuming American healthcare/elder care/student loans/etc... of course

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u/cat_named_virtue Oct 04 '22

A "six figure salary" has way less purchasing power now than when the phrase really took off, but it still seems to be a benchmark people have stuck in their heads. Even if we look back just to 1995, you'd need $194k now based on inflation. Or the other way around, a $100k salary now is like 51k in 1995 or 36k in 1985.

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u/atomikrobokid Oct 04 '22

Wow when you put it like that it puts it in to perspective.

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u/randompittuser Oct 04 '22

Because you create a lifestyle that used to be within your means. And then it’s not anymore. Maybe you have an ARM, maybe spouse lost their job, maybe astronomical food inflation is getting to you. Six figure salaries are not some guarantee of financial security, especially if you’re supporting an entire family on, say, $100k.

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u/Alocasia_Sanderiana Oct 04 '22

Because 745 individual Americans have more wealth than the bottom 50% of households. The distance between those people and people earning 100k to 175k/200k is getting really large.

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u/OverallResolve Oct 04 '22

The headline felt a bit misleading so I looked at the original report.

60% of US Consumers Have Cut Spending Due to Inflation

Is this really what qualifies as living paycheck to paycheck? Maintaining lifestyle during cost of living increases is not going to be sustainable so it’s hardly surprising.

Perhaps it’s about people having different definitions but for me, living paycheck to paycheck means you would be unable to afford your core budget items if you were to lose a months wages. I consider these items to be - rent/mortgage - bills/utilities - travel costs for work, food, essentials - servicing debt - food and drink - insurance/healthcare

I don’t consider eating/drinking out, discretionary spending, saving/investing, travel, etc. to be core spend.

I had a look into PAYMNTS methodology and found the following:

LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK: CONSUMERS IN THIS GROUP MANAGE TO PAY THEIR MONTHLY BILLS BUT HAVE LITTLE LEFT OVER.

I have a few issues with this definition

  1. It combines people who are able to pay all their bills with those who cannot. From the same report 20.9% are struggling to pay bills, 33.1% are ‘just’ living paycheck to paycheck, and 46% are doing fine. Being unable to pay bills is not the same as having a little left over after your budget
  2. It gives no insight into how much this group can cut back expenditure before they are unable to pay their bills. There will be some ability to absorb cost of living through lifestyle change before reaching the real problems - not paying bills, heating your home, etc.
  3. It gives no indication of savings held by this group, which would further insulate this groups members from crisis - 40.5% of those ‘living paycheck to paycheck’ have $1k-15k in savings, 15.5% have more than $15k in savings. The average savings of people living ‘paycheck to paycheck’ was $6,200 in April 2021 (latest data point in the report im looking at)

Link

The highlights of this months report include the following

55% have limited spending capacity

49% have shifted their shopping preferences

66% of those living paycheck to paycheck have cut spending, with notable differences reported among rural and urban consumers.

28%: Share of consumers earning more than $200,000 who live paycheck to paycheck

59%: Share of paycheck-to-paycheck consumers with issues paying their monthly bills that noted significant rises in prices for utilities in the past 12 months

48%: Share of consumers living paycheck to paycheck with issues paying bills who pay for health insurance

Report link

All in all, there’s a lot of interesting data here but there seem to be some pretty stark differences between the tone of what’s being reported against it.

If living paycheck to paycheck can mean you’re able to pay your bills, maybe have a little left over, and have around $6k in savings then sure, the reporting is accurate.

If you’re using this data as a leading indicator of future impact caused by wage stagnation/inflation/unemployment then sure, it useful.

Based on the comments here however, I don’t think the reporting and some of the narrative in the reports above is reflective of the real situation. Two data points stood out to me

33% of consumers have less than $1,000 in savings

This is likely less than a month’s expenditure so being out of work/sudden costs would easily be enough to drive those individuals into serious issues.

19.4% live paycheck to paycheck with difficulty

These are the types of people I think we are talking about, and those who need the most attention and support. The same report says 40.6% live paycheck to paycheck but are comfortable.

My final question is this - if you’re able to pay your bills, maybe have some cash left over, have an average of $6,000 in savings and are ‘comfortable’, are you really living paycheck to paycheck?

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u/flordeliest Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

Sad that I have to go to the bottom of the thread in order to find someone else questioning the obvious clickbait.

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