Tips on Ending Poverty: #1 Local

One way we can all help to end poverty is buy local hire local. When you buy from a local retail store, you are helping an individual support themselves. When a local business hires local people to help run the business, they too are helping an individual support themselves. … Or even a family.

Take a fraction of your budget and spend it with a local business. Have $100 budgeted for groceries? Spend $10 with a local farmer, bakery, or other take-home-yummies maker. Have two date nights budgeted a month? Spend one at a mom-and-pop diner, or pay a friend to make you dinner –after all she wants to open up a restaurant.

Do you know crafty people? What about aspiring entrepreneurs? In most cases, it doesn’t take much to help support your community.

Remember: BUY LOCAL!

Commentary: My thoughts on “Setting the Student Loan Record Straight: Why the Real Student Debt Crisis Lives in the For-Profits” by Maggie McGraph

Commentary: My thoughts on “Setting the Student Loan Record Straight: Why the Real Student Debt Crisis Lives in the For-Profits” by Maggie McGraph

I am usually skeptical when anyone suggests they are lying to you! However, Maggie (a Forbes Staff member) actually presented statistics – and enough information about the statistics that you can look up the information yourself! First I would like to thank Maggie for writing a piece that was informative and not emotionally charged. Second, I would like to state that thanks to her article, I feel slightly (not much, but slightly nonetheless) better about our economic standing as a country.

It is nice to know that not all of my peers are drowning in student loan debt — though it is still sad that some are. It is nice to know that there are many of my peers who are able to achieve milestones such as homeownership.

This little tidbit of information is going in my back pocket as I perform more and more research about  today’s economic situation.

Now,  I would also like to point out that, although having a college education puts you in a better financial position, it doesn’t mean that we are not experiencing economic hardship (individual, collectively, or any other slice of pie). Yes, having a college education has the potential to put you in a higher income bracket. As a result, you may be more financially able to make big purchases than those in your age group who do not have a college education. I would suspect that this will always be the case.

College = “Nice” Job = Big Purchases

As I contemplate what the author wrote more and more, I wonder…. is she inadvertently pulling the wool over our eyes? She may not be doing it intentionally, but it seems like she has missed the bigger picture. OF COURSE A COLLEGE EDUCATION PUTS YOU IN A BETTER FINANCIAL POSITION THAN NOT HAVING ONE. She compares the purchasing power of a group divided by who has student loan debt and those who do not. That is where the bias and inaccuracy is located.

We all know that having a college education gets you more bucks and more bucks lets you buy things. However, compared to our parents and grandparents, we are delaying purchasing a home — as I recall from past readings. This is where I see the crisis.

Compared to generations past, we are less financially capable. This finding only demonstrates that a college education is still worth the ever growing price tag. I wonder though, if the cost of education and incomes continue to grow disproportionately as they have recently, how much longer will a college education be profitable?

What is Feudalism?

feu·dal·ism
ˈfyo͞odlˌizəm/
noun

historical
  1. the dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord’s land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.

Are we heading to a feudalistic society? Our rich keep getting richer and comparatively — and actually — our poor are getting poorer. I don’t want to live in a feudalistic society. Do you?

Some Economic Statistics for United States of America

Gross Domestic Product – GDP – (2013) — $16.77 trillion

Population (2013) — 316.5 million

GDP per capita (2013) $53,041.98

Median Wage (2012) — $26,695

Median Household Income — $50,500

66% of American earn less than $41,212

————————————————————————————————–

WTF! Two thirds of Americans earn about 77% of what they produce, but it is even worse than that. If you don’t know what “median” means, it is this:

denoting or relating to a value or quantity lying at the midpoint of a frequency distribution of observed values or quantities, such that there is an equal probability of falling above or below it.

Basically, there is an equal number of people earning less than $26,695 as there is how make more. So …. half of all Americans earn just over 50% of what they produce.

In 2014, the poverty level was set at $23,850 household income for a family of four. WTF!

How does this make sense to anyone? How does this not outrage more people? This is so …..

In America, we are expected to support ourselves. How is this possible with the state of our economy? It is so difficult for people to be self sustaining in our economy, and those who are more than capable of sustaining themselves plus others are unwilling to help.

Our poverty might be more favorable to another country’s poverty, but our poverty is still horrible. It is not right for someone to not know where their next meal will come from or not have a secure and safe place to rest. Just because it could be worse does not mean that it is tolerable.

Please Google the below terms to see the numbers yourself:
United States of America GDP
Average American Income
United States of America GDP per capita

A Few Ammature Comments on the Fed’s Zero Interest Policy

This morning I read Fed Should Raise Rates To Loosen Policy by David Malpass a contributor for Forbes.

The Fed does need to increase its interest rate. The current near zero percent interest rate does benefit the rich and makes lending to the not-rich difficult. It seems that David is implying that the Fed should have never implemented the near zero percent interest rate in the first place or implemented quantitative easing (QE).

Though I agree with David that the Fed could have done more during the financial crisis to help the people actually hurting — the middle class and the working poor — I do also believe that the Fed’s actions did help release some of the pressures.

With the dismissal of the Glass-Steagall Act, we were building up to a great economical disaster. Lowering the Fed’s interest rate to near zero and holding long term government bonds helped keep many businesses alive. Imagine what would have happened if the Fed hadn’t implemented such policies. We probably would have ended up with The Great Depression II instead of just a recession.

This financial crisis hit so many people. Many people lost their jobs. Many people lost their homes. Many people lost their life savings — if not during the bubble burst then in attempting to support themselves in between jobs. It was a horrible time.

Imagine what would have happened without the Fed’s actions? How many businesses would have went under? How many more people would have lost their jobs? How many more people would have lost their homes. The Fed’s actions did help prevent an even worse disaster. More could have been done to help the masses. More can still be done to help us. Less can be done to benefit the rich, especially the uber rich.

My Recollections of the Great Recession

I was in my teens during the down fall, but I remember wishing that I had just a few hundred dollars. If I had just a few hundred dollars, I could have bought a book or two of stock. I understood that it was unlikely that many of the business would actually go under and I wanted to buy in while they were on discount. Saddly, I was a teen and had no such money.

Stock wasn’t the only thing on discount. The price of homes were also dropping like crazy. Mortgages were being foreclosed left and right. The situation was so dire that get-rich-quick schemes were flourishing more than before.

One of the causes of the financial crisis (one of MANY) was that people were “flipping” homes which drove the price of a house sky high. Did this stop when the bubble burst and prices were falling back to earth? No. This was the height of the house flipping schools. During the worst of the disaster, the “instructors” were saying that foreclosed homes were the best because you could buy them for pennies on the dollar making them more profitable.

It is amazing what people will believe when they get desperate enough… or when everyone else is doing it.

The Living Wage War! Pt 1

This is why we should all support an increased minimum wage. The minimum wage was created in order for a SINGLE income to provide a living wage to a single income family.

If your argument is that of the above false quote, you are forgetting that minimum wage jobs don’t go away once school is in session. Jobs are for adults. If a teen gets a job so that he or she has spending money apart from what the parents are capable of supplying, GREAT! But don’t forget, jobs are for adults. Adults do adult things — like purchase transportation, shelter, insurance, food, healthcare services, and more.

#jobs areforadultsteenworkersaretheexception

Why Did Classical Economics Fail in the Late 1920s and Cause the Great Depression

First off, classical economics in a nut is laissez-fair or “leave it alone and it will be fine.”

Up until the 1920s, recessions were more or less manageable. Perhaps not for those greatly affected, but society at large. Of course, the infrastructure of our society at the time could not have supported large government interference.

At the time, small communities were “thriving.” Everybody new their neighbor and few people moved far off from home upon reaching adulthood. Mothers made clothes for their family. If yoy hit hard times you could count on your community to lend a helping hand or at least provide small jobs so you could support your self.

At the turn of the century, society began to change. More and more people were moving to the city. We new fewer and fewer of our neighbors. It is my belief that this is where our roots of “support yourself you lazy bumb” really started to take root.

That’s why classical economics failed. People wanted more and more of the economic pie. Since people of power had the power to take what of the pie they wanted, they did. Since there was less pie to go around, the less powerful people had to borrow money in order to participate in the economic (false) boom of the time.

People of power no longer felt that they were accountable for the wellbeing of others because they weren’t around those of a “lesser” status. Had we continued to have the tight knit community we had before, powerful people would have been held more accountable.

Observations of society will show you that people of a higher social standing do not hold themselves accountable to those of a lower social standing. Bell hops for the most expensive apartments in Manhattan will tell you that most of the residents will only tip a few dollars (if that) because the residents know that amount is what would be expected at the lowest apartment buildings that still have bell hops.

Studies have shown that people who begin with an adherently better position believe they earned what wealth follows amd that those who started in a disadvantaged position deserve what poverty follows. Don’t believe me?
Check this link out: monopoly study

I am not saying that before the 20th century there were not greedy people. I am saying that there have always been greedy people and that as our society expands it becomes more and more difficult to hold (greedy) people of power accountable for taking care of their share of society. That is why classical economics has failed and why we now need keynesian economics. That is why we need a minimum wage. That is why we need regulations. Too many people will only give the bare minimum they are required to for society and they will take the rest.