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This could be me

The Atlantic has an article about Americans who are still feeling the after effects of the 2008 financial crash 10 years later.

I’m not in the same dire straits as the family profiled here but only because I got the f#%^ out of NJ before the value of my house plummeted any further and used the proceeds to buy a foreclosed property in Pittsburgh. So my misfortune prompted me to benefit from someone else’s.

But I did experience a prolonged period of unemployment as did many of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who lost their careers in service to shareholder value. I struggled for several years on consulting work, contracting work, part time jobs all without benefits, at a period of time when the medical costs for a family member meant that I drained every cent of my savings to pay for insurance and deductibles.

This also coincided with the a long bull market and my 401k was converted to an IRA and languished in ultra safe investments. I couldn’t afford to lose another penny.

Now my life has somewhat stabilized. I have a good job with benefits but it’s in a different field and I have to work my way up from the bottom on an entry level salary with not that many years left to save for retirement. I’m very lucky that I don’t have a mortgage or any debt. But I go on vacations in my dreams. I buy my clothes at H&M and the Gap but only with 40% off. I look forward to Christmas but I buy only for my closest family members. The days of my nice middle class life are permanently gone.

That’s what 2008 did to me. And it is still having a profound effect on my former coworkers and friends who still can’t find suitable work at a decent salary but are doing adjunct work or contracting work or just sitting at home, staring at the walls, with a rising sense of fear, uncertainty and dread.

The tax reform bill is going to impact us particularly hard. We are not ready to retire but we have a long way to go to rebuild our lives and at this point, retirement will be like vacations, in our dreams only.

*************************************

This sums up the tax bill fiasco:

Here’s what I don’t think MAGA voters understand: they think they’re going to get a tax cut in 2019. And they very well might. There’s a spoonful of sugar initially.

But it’s going to be offset by a rise in State and Local taxes over time as our local governments scramble to plug the holes left by a $1.5 trillion dollar federal deficit.

This was the plan all along. Anti-government forces do not care about the needs of ordinary people. They think that government’s only purpose is to fight wars on our behalf and that’s it. They have never made any secret of this.

The rest? Well, that’s up to you. If your state wants nice things, like bridges that don’t collapse when you drive over them, you’ll have to cough that up yourself.

And anyway, it’s so much easier to catch your dinner when you separate your prey from the herd. These tax cuts are going to lead to further deterioration of our ability to negotiate bulk discounts. Like CHIP!

We should just hang up a sign that says “Welcome to Bangladesh!” because to the people on whose behalf this bill was passed, that’s what the rest of us look like. Dirty, uneducated, piece work employees who don’t deserve the measly salary they get because they weren’t virtuous enough to be rich.

“The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.”

*************************************

On a more cheerful note, Vince Guraldi wrote the best Christmas album ever. It always fills me with Christmas cheer. Let’s get this party started.

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10 Responses

  1. I just found this on Wonkette: 😆

  2. Over on Wonkette, the phrase “anal invasion of an unlubed colonoscopy” came up (don’t ask), and it occurs to me that it sounds like the name of a very bad niche hentai manga or anime. 😛

  3. “Here’s what I don’t think MAGA voters understand: they think they’re going to get a tax cut in 2019. And they very well might. There’s a spoonful of sugar initially.”

    They’re also going to get walloped by cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and an increase in lower and middle-class rates in 2025 to deal with the deficit increase from this bill. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    Actually, i think a lot of the MAGA voters *have* figured this out – the tax bill has a 62% disapproval rating the last time I looked. That has to include a fair number of sTRUMPets. Not a majority, to be sure, but a pretty substantial minority.

    • I disagree. I spoke to a conservative last night who is no Trump fan who bought the whole “this is going to help small businesses and everyone will benefit when it filters down” hook line and sinker. It did not help that he isn’t familiar with Keynesian economics or what will happen in the next recession or the fact that there were no incentives in this tax bill to make trickle down beneficial for corporations to do. We don’t expect anything from them but good will.
      As for social security, he’s not the first person I’ve met who is in denial about that. Many many Fox News loving or conservative voters simply cannot believe that ANYONE would be stupid enough to deprive them of hard earned benefits. They are in denial. You can tell them and tell them until you’re blue in the face but they will not believe it. Ever. Until the vote to gut Medicare and Social Security actually happens and then the next day they’ll wonder what the hell hit them.
      Social security is sacrosanct. They think it’s the third rail. I honestly don’t know what it’s going to take to change that if Republicans control the message.

      • Please note that I said “substantial minority”, which the polling data appears to bear out. A single counterexample doesn’t refute that. To be sure, most Trump supporters are still buying the party line (just put your waders on and look at Crawdad Hole for a clear example)- but it doesn’t take *most* of them to flip the House, for example (or to throw the swing states in 2020, for that matter). The big problem here is that they’ve manage to kick the can down to 2025 when the tax rates for lower income taxpayers will rebound. They’ll be able to blame the poor schmuck who gets elected in 2024 for all the bad consequences.

      • As for Social Security, all they really have to do is privatize all or part of it for younger workers (say, under 55 or 60), implement chained CPI, and raise the full benefit eligibility age (again). Then they can claim to be “saving Social Security” even as they gut it (as Bernie pointed out in the floor debate last night). Chained CPI is obscure enough that even some Democrats will feel secure in backing it. And, of course, some Democrats benefit sufficiently from donations from Wall Street that they can be persuaded to go along with the other provisions.

        Medicare could be replaced with a voucher system, which will not even cover the most basic care. This can also be portrayed as “saving Medicare” through the “efficiencies” of the private sector. They don’t need to do away with it – they just need to make it both completely ineffective and (yet another) welfare program for the insurance and finance sectors.

  4. Is it OK to say that one has to admire Republicans party unity in their cruelty? How can a group of people be this malicious and corrupt?

  5. RD, I tried to get on this post and a Google ad blocked me. I was able to backdoor around it by clicking on the sidebar showing posts. I don’t know if that is my ISP or what is going on.

    This whole bill sucks eggs. The best thing we can do is campaign against it in 2018. Democrats are engaged all over the country and we need to get to work. The GOP thinks since they can continually gaslight their voters they can gaslight the entire country.

    And the pundits need to quit making all this about Obama. All that does is help the GOP. Focus on what is going to happen to middle class Americans. I wish Obama had spent more time fixing the national debt and maybe he wouldnt’ have given the GOP such an opening.

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