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Live Simple....The New Economic Reality: Change Must Happen One Person At A Time
I’ll be honest with you: I have no faith in my nation’s leaders. None! I do not believe for a minute that those who walk the Halls of Congress have my best interests at heart. Oh sure, there might be one or two who aren’t receiving hand-outs from special interest groups, but for the majority of our lawmakers I have no faith at all.
I applaud anyone who reads this who still has faith in our political system and our current economic system. I really do! You are showing that you still believe in dreams and that is admirable. You are showing a steadfast insistence on supporting the global economy and that, too, is admirable. I, however, have no faith.
I have said before that as long as money is combined with politics there can be no meaningful action taken on behalf of the constituency and I believe that to still be true. As long as special interest groups are allowed to promote their agendas with millions of dollars the nature of the political beast will be corrupted. We were warned of this truth by the founders of our nation over two centuries ago and we did not listen. That truth has now bitten us in our collective posterior and the results are clear and undeniable.
The economy is slowly trying to dig itself out of a mammoth hole. The housing market continues to flounder, gas prices are approaching five bucks a gallon, jobs are still being outsourced and the national debt has so many zeroes in it that the average citizen needs a calculator to decipher what the number really is. The cost of a loaf of whole wheat bread has skyrocketed in the greatest wheat-producing nation on Earth and the percentage of those who are one paycheck away from being homeless is rising.
I do not need an economic study to tell me that things are worse right now than at any time in my sixty-three years and if you ask me if it is possible that things will continue to spiral downwards I will say with all certainty YES!
The question then must be asked: what are we going to do about it? Are we going to wait for our government to solve the problem? I fear we are in for a long wait, then, because our government is part of the problem and shows no sign of being part of the solution.
Are we going to wait for the 1% to bail out the 99%? If so pack a lunch and get comfy because the wait could be a long one and quite frankly why would we want that anyway? Why would we be satisfied while some fat cat at Chase or Morgan Stanley tosses us a few crumbs?
So what are we going to do about it?
I have witnessed, during my lifetime, some incredibly focused and effective protest movements. Where are they today? Where are the people who have had enough and refuse to take it any longer? In their place are millions upon millions of lower-middle class citizens clinging by their fingernails to the hope….the hope…that things will soon improve. They know not how but the hope….the fantasy….remains.
So what are we to do?
A VERY SIMPLE REALITY NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD
Let’s not beat around the bush. If the economy is not in sync with the average citizen then the average citizen needs to do something about it. If your wages are frozen, if your job is constantly in jeopardy, if expenses are rising then you really only have one option: expenses need to be lowered so that you have more disposable income and you are not reliant on the government or the economy.
To put it another way: if you spend more than you earn then you need to cut spending. HELLO??? Anyone out there listening? Bueller? Ferris Bueller?
POSSESSIONS ARE NOT THE SOURCE OF TRUE HAPPINESS
A couple years ago I had a friend; we’ll call her Betty. She had lost her job, bills were piling up and she was in danger of having the utilities shut off. She asked me for a loan so that the power and water wouldn’t be terminated. Now please understand that she had a house full of furniture and other possessions including two vehicles, a big-screen tv and all the other bells and whistles that come with suburbia living.
I suggested to her that she might want to consider selling some of her possessions and you would have thought I had just said she needed to sell her first born. She was amazed and then miffed that I would not loan her the money when she had enough possessions to pay for the utilities for quite a few months. She could not conceive of living without those precious possessions.
I doubt I’ll ever forget what happened that day.
When I left for a teaching job in Alaska in 2006 I sold everything I owned. That was the beginning of the realization that I didn’t need things to be happy. Nothing has changed in the six years since then. I do not own a car or a television or furniture. In fact, I do not work for anyone. Two years ago I walked out of a job that included benefits and became a full-time freelance writer. I have not for one moment regretted that decision.
I have had years when I made a six-figure income and I can say in all honesty I am happier today barely breaking $20,000. I still owe on one credit card which I no longer use. I live comfortably on my income and I am engaged to a woman who is in complete agreement with my lifestyle choices. In three years we will move to the country and live a self-sustaining life without dependence on the government or an employer.
FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE
Cut up the credit cards. Get a vehicle that uses much less gasoline. Downsize your home and your possessions. Do whatever is necessary to establish a lifestyle that is not one paycheck from bankruptcy. Learn to live frugally and do it immediately.
I learned a long time ago an old adage that makes perfect sense regarding this subject. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. You are not a preferred customer at your lending institution nor have you attained elite status with your government or place of employment. To be dependent on any of those factors and expect different results is the definition of insanity.
It is also insanity to expect the economic landscape to change. As I write this there are millions upon millions of citizens hoping things will get better. Hoping!
I am convinced that things will only get worse in the future. If you disagree then I wish you well. I have no need to debate with you on this matter. You keep doing your thing and I’ll keep doing mine and may happiness and peace always be your companions.
ONE LAST THING
We have arrived at a point in history where we really need to come together as a race. To watch someone suffer without reaching out a hand to help is unacceptable. I’m not talking about paying the utility bills of someone who has the means to do it themselves; I’m talking about truly needy people who can’t stand on their own.
There have been many times in the history of our culture when people have banded together for a common purpose. We need for it to happen again. To hide your head in the sand and hope that things get better is a child’s game. To turn your head when someone needs you is an act of selfishness that should be beneath all of us.
Do not rely on the government! Do not rely on your employer or big business or the Tooth Fairy! Turn to family….turn to neighbor….band together and take control of your lives.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
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