cicerone imposter wrote:
I agree, but there are no easy answers. The biggest problems we're facing today is the have and have-nots that are increasing, and the middle-class losing ground.
No, that philosophy is economic poison. It results in socialism at the national level and inequalities between nations. It is the reason why European pension/welfare funds invest in keeping the US spending big on goods made cheaply in China using German factory parts.
The US and Europe should be able to host a broad spectrum of income/wealth levels without it resulting in the detrimental aspects of poverty. Everyone should be able to eat, have clothing, and shelter, etc. without them all having to close the income/wealth gap between rich and poor.
The corporations are producing greater profits, and the workers are not seeing their pay increase in relative terms.
Look at the environmental problems reported daily in the news. Too much waste, plastics in the ocean, CO2 and other greenhouse gases, deforestation through development, etc. Even the poorest people in the US drive cars and have plenty to eat, even meat every day.
The federal minimum wage is a joke; it's outlived it usefulness as soon as it was implemented. There's no way anyone earning $7.25 an hour can live in most of the cities in this country except those that have already declared bankruptcy. The minimum wage in our city is $15.65/hour. It's impossible to live here on those wages. Many families crowd into one home to survive. Rents hover around $3,000 a month. The average cost of homes is around $1.75 million.
Rent and housing inflation is a product of the demand that supports it. If people didn't find ways to pay such high rents and borrow money for mortgages, those prices wouldn't be able to rise so high. Inflation is always caused by a failure of fiscal discipline to keep it in check, which in turn is caused by people borrowing and/or otherwise overspending money.
We can live here, because we bought our home in the mid-1960's, and I paid off our mortgage in 1998 when I retired. We couldn't afford to buy our own home. Many professional couples can't even buy in this area, and many travel from the Central Valley to work in the high tech industry here. I even heard of one man who lives in Oregon, and he flies into Silicon Valley and works his 10 hour, four days, then flies home. Many are moving out of California, because of the high cost of living here. What surprises me is seeing young families with children still living in our area. I don't know how they're doing it.
I don't know how much fiscal discipline it would take to deflate California to the cost of living of the east coast and southeast. Once the sharks of an economy get a taste for meat in large quantities, they don't want to tighten their belts. In order to have a good economy, you can't just tax and redistribute money or force richer people to make less. Rather, you need to have the poorest people living very frugally, yet also have businesses willing to cater to them at prices they can afford.
The main thing is to stop thinking in terms of everyone having similar income and/or lifestyles. If you are concerned with poverty, what you should worry about is making sure that the poor have adequate access to healthy food, warm clothing, modest shelter, and non-automotive transit/infrastructure. Then, those poor people have to accept that they will have to work and save a long time to gain the higher status they often desire, and they may never do so but that doesn't mean they should get angry and go into crime or rebel or seek revolution. They should just concentrate on improving their situation and health and educational attainment, even if that just means having access to good public libraries and using them to learn without getting degrees and higher pay as a result.
In other words, some people just have to work for less money and do the jobs that need to be done so that the economy can provide prosperity for all. Things like personal safety and security from crime, a good natural environment, are a product of moral choices that don't cost anything. People mostly just need to behave themselves and work constructively to solve the problems of how to live better with less spending.