Solano Real Estate Scene: Time ripe for ‘Revolution 2020’
I found the two stories below doing research for this column about the diminishing middle class.
The first thing I found on Google was a Motley Fool article from December 2019 that stated that 69% of the U.S. population couldn’t come up with $1,000 in an emergency. The second was an ABC News story from six months earlier that stated that the Federal Reserve estimated 40% of us couldn’t find $400, including credit card availability.
The country has never had a wealth gap this huge or such a population growth of “haves over have nots” like we have seen over the past 50 years. Ironically, both sides of this group want the same thing.
The poor don’t want to be poor and the “haves” (people with financial security and enough net worth and income to one day retire financially happy and safe) can’t afford for 70% of the population to be poor.
Most of the “haves” are good American citizens who care about poverty and donate billions of dollars for charity every year. Some of the “haves” are people who don’t do a lot of donating to charity but take care of their family and pay a huge amount of local, state and federal taxes, which they feel should be used to take care of the poor. A few “haves” are greedy jerks who don’t give a hoot about anybody other than themselves and don’t care about the future of the American Dream, but they love money.
The reason all the “haves” cannot afford for 70% of the country to be “have nots” is because of the cost to support them now and especially in 25 years, because today 52% of folks over 54 years old have no IRA, 401(k) or government pension. This is our future with $25 trillion in national debt if we don’t have a “revolution,” which the dictionary defines as a radical change. There is no way this can be corrected overnight.
For the “haves” and the “have nots” to have a win-win situation is to have a revolution.
Radical change is needed because the only way the American Dream can work is if the poor are an extreme minority and the middle class are a dominant majority of our population. The small and large businesses of America must have a strong consumer to buy their products. So it only makes common high-school-diploma-level sense to rebuild the middle class. The number of Americans with a master’s degree level or higher credentials has doubled in just the past 20 years to 25 million.
I have no facts to back up this next statement but I would be willing to wager $100 that many of these highly educated people voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren because they either understand the destruction of the middle class is going to raise taxes and hurt their consumer-based business or they just feel sorry for the poor and are not satisfied with what the mainstream Democrats and the Republicans have done over the last 50 years.
The problem is that communism and socialism is not the American Dream.
The solution – revolution and radical change – I propose to the 25 million doctors and MBAs along with the business leaders and politicians of our great country is to simply follow in our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ steps that survived both world wars and, most importantly, the Great Depression. Business leaders and scholars should study American success stories of individuals and companies that not only survived the Great Depression but thrived between 1920 to 1970 – and follow their success.
The rest of us that are over 50 should think back to our parents and grandparents and what they tried to teach us from their memories and experiences growing up during the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1933. They warned us by always reminding us to be grateful and not wasteful. They reminded us about the 600,000 Americans who died fighting for the American Dream in World War II.
These sayings may job your memory: “Waste not want not,” “a penny saved is a penny earned,” “nothing more important than a hard day’s work,” “if you can’t afford to pay cash, you can’t afford it,” “you should always have six months income in cash reserves” and “your house payment or rent should never be more than 25% of your gross income unless you live in California where 33% is just the way it goes if you want to live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
These are just a few of the things I have heard over the years from my elders. The radical change is so ridiculously simple. We need to begin teaching our children capitalism, financial literacy and the American Dream – and start in first grade.