I haven't been able to save anything for retirement, my son will have to find his own way to college. Vacation? what's that? And "entertainment"? don't make me laugh (though much of what passes as entertainment these days is garbage and I wouldn't spend the money on it even if I had it). Yet I make $36,000.00 per year and thus fall into the middle class bracket. I was unemployed for almost three years and it completely wiped me out. I found employment almost two years ago now but I am still digging out. I'm 53. I'll never retire. Sad thing is, I know a lot of people just like me, just hanging on. The American Dream? It's gone.
Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up
By DIONNE SEARCEY and ROBERT GEBELOFF
New York Times
JAN. 25, 2015
In the United States—as in all of the world’s wealthier nations—ending poverty is not a matter of resources. Many economists, including Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin (and former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty) have argued that every developed nation has the financial wherewithal to eradicate poverty. In large part this is because post-industrial productivity has reached the point where to suggest a deficit in resources is laughably disingenuous.
But there may be a solution. Some might see it as radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal, are suggesting straight up cash: a guaranteed subsidy to everyone.
A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones and maybe, says Jacobson, "think about what really needs doing, what they would like to do, what they have trained to do, as opposed to simply what someone might hire them to do."
It makes financial sense for the cash-strapped U.S. government.
In switching over to a universal basic income, the books will not only stay balanced—they might even move into the black. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 115,227,000 households in the U.S. Split $1.88 trillion among all these households and each one gets $16,315.62. In other words, if you turned the welfare system into a $15,000 basic income payment, you’d end up saving over $150 billion (or $1,315.62 per American household).
Households making over $100,000 per year probably get by just fine on their own. Cut them out of the equation, and you would end up with a $20,000 basic income check for the remaining households, while still netting the government some nice savings.
BY BETSY ISAACSON
DECEMBER 14, 2014
The animal works when deprivation is the mainspring of its activity, and it plays when the fullness of its strength is this mainspring, when superabundant life is its own stimulus to activity.
Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins