A Working Class Mystery: The American Worker’s Love Affair With Capitalism

Ah, the American Dream!  The wonderful dream of freedom!  Of owning your own car, so you can go wherever you want, whenever you want!  Getting married and having kids… buying a house for the family and working hard to pay every last dollar off, because all those things are the “right things to do”.  Selling that house and buying a bigger house as your career takes off and your family gets larger.  Saving for the kids’ college education.  Buying a vacation home so you can have a place to “get away from it all” on your weekends off.  And after all that, being able to put something aside every week into a savings account for your “golden years”!  This is the life every American is born to live – a life of freedom and prosperity from cradle to grave!

Yes, that’s what life is like in the American Dream.  But then the alarm clock goes off and suddenly, you’re waking up in your apartment… oh my god!  You overslept!  You’re gonna be late for work!  What will your boss say?  They laid three people off in your department last week and you’ve already been told that if you come in late one more time…

But it wasn’t your fault.  Your wife was sick.  You couldn’t afford to take her to the doctor – you haven’t had health insurance since it was eliminated after that corporate takeover five years ago… and you decided to take a couple of days off to take care of her.  You thought your boss would understand, but he didn’t.

With your wife sick off and on the past couple of months the money coming in hasn’t been enough to pay both the mortgage and the car payments.  So, one month you take care of the car payments and let the mortgage slide and the next month do the opposite.  If she can’t get back to work full-time soon you’ll be in serious trouble.  And the credit card payments!  You haven’t been able to pay more than the minimums on those in years, and that debt just keeps on going up.  The stress is enough to make anyone sick…

And now you just found out that your mother’s Medicaid payment from the State of Illinois has been cut.  She’s not going to be able to pay for the heart medication she needs to live.  Guess you’ll have to come up with the difference somehow.  Maybe your brother and sister can help with those payments.  Ah, but they’re both upside-down on their mortgage payments and considering whether to keep paying the note on their houses or to just say the hell with it and let them go.  If they do, their credit scores will be screwed for the next 7 years at least.

You’ve already had to ransack the kids’ college fund to make a couple mortgage payments yourself, and if the wife doesn’t get well soon you’ll have to do it again.  Haven’t had the guts to tell the older ones yet, the ones who’ll be applying for college next year.  They have no idea that if they don’t get scholarships they may have to go to college part time and work full time… if they can find jobs.

Well, there’ll be no fancy vacation this year that’s for sure.  But what’s so new about that?  Haven’t had a proper vacation in years, ever since that takeover when they cut back vacation pay from 3 weeks to one.  Those bastards!  Now the kids will have to make do with “summer camp” at the town park district.  But they’ve cut back so much on their programs that they don’t have much to offer except free swimming in the town pool all summer.  And softball league, and soccer.  Well that’ll have to do.

Can’t expect help from the company in the form of a pay raise this year.  The so-called “raises” of the past three years didn’t even keep up with inflation, and they’ve already said that this year they were not going to be able to afford any raise at all because the economy is so bad.  But the company execs all got their bonuses, didn’t they?  That’s what the guys were talking about at the bowling alley last week.

Well if you keep thinking like that you’ll never get to sleep at all.  Got to try to drive all these worries out of your head or you’ll turn into a basket case… yeah… that’s better… maybe… now.. i can…. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ah, the American Dream!  The wonderful dream of freedom!  Of owning your own car, so you can go wherever you want, whenever you want!  Getting married and having kids… buying a house for the family and working hard to pay every last dollar off, because all those things are the “right things to do”.  Selling that house and buying a bigger house as your career takes off and your family gets larger.  Saving for the kids’ college education.  Buying a vacation home so you can have a place to “get away from it all” on your weekends off.  And after all that, being able to put something aside every week into a savings account for your “golden years”…

 

IWPCHI

 

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