Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Money, Salaries, and Politics

When I was a teen, between my junior year and senoritis, I got a job working for a carpet cleaner that paid $1 an hour. For six straight weeks I worked 40 hours a week and collected a paycheck every Friday. That first Friday was heaven and then hell. I decided to take my girl friend out for dinner. Borrowed Dad's car, filled the tank for $4, and picked her up for dinner and then what the heck a movie after. But first, cause this was a special occasion, I decided I might as well spring for flowers, $2 bought a dozen roses. Add candy, $1. Now I was set. When we got to the restaurant, I let her pick out the dinner. Pizza, $5, cokes, $1, salad, $1, pasta, $4, and finally the tip, $1. A second pizza, I was a hungry lad, and suddenly I was looking at my last $10 bill. Yes, you're right, I had already brought up the movie and had thought about going to the Car Hop, our local late night hangout, after. But not on $10. You may know how embarrassing it is for a kid admit to his limited means but until you've done it with a girl you are really trying to impress you don't know what hell is. Do you suppose this explains how some guy came up with the idea for credit cards?

Barbara Ehrenreich has a lot to say about the financial condition of America's middle class in her book, Bait and Switch, that's why her name on this article at AlterNet got my eye.

It seems that everywhere you look these days you'll find apologists, pundits, and just plain folk trying analyze and deconstruct this financial mess our economy is in. The blame game is big. But so are the new solutions that are being proposed as democracies are starting to try and take back control of the capitalist economies that they should be working with and not for. This article by Robert Reich from Foreign Policy magazine got me to thinking.

No comments: