Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is My Beautiful House?

Radical economist David Ruccio had this to say about the growing inequality:
"Right now, in the midst of the Second Great Depression, even “good jobs” pay low wages and come with declining health insurance and pension benefits."

This seems to me, based on lived experience, to be spot on. I might be considered to have a “good job” working for the National Park Service, as a lower end professional. My job is one that requires at minimum a BA degree, and a diversity of skills. My government job comes with health insurance, but of which a significant chunk of the premiums comes out of my gross wages, and I am making just under 40 grand a year. My wife is unemployed, and we are just barely getting by.  I have an aging truck, that will need to be replaced soon, damaged credit, and little disposable income to put towards a new one.  The issue of student loan payment are a constant source of worry.  We rent a house, and are not yet in a position to buy even a small modest home of our own. 

I have been a lefty from my late teen years through to all of my adult life.  I have always felt solidarity and sympathy for low waged and unskilled workers, knowing that they were far under paid.  I worked along side them, as them, in a variety of jobs, as a restaurant line cook, landscaper, warehouse worker, and asbestos abatement worker. 

However, ten years or so ago I was of the mind that with the education and skills I was acquiring, I would be doing alright financially by now. Now I wake up in the future and realize that despite my education and skills, I am not a member of the middle class, but still part of that struggling, barely getting by working class. 

Yet, on the other hand, I have been steadily employed during these hard times, and I am one of the more fortunate members of the working class.  I can also count my lucky stars that I don't have to slog through some of the alienating labor that others have to.  After all, I can step out of my office, of which I am not tied to all day, and take in this view: 

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