I keep hearing rich people ask why they are hated for their wealth. Like this:
Ah, yes. This does make me rage.
I am told quite frequently that I should be working a few full time jobs to pay for school. I should not have any student loans, I should be paying for all of my tuition out of pocket, and I should live on my own. If I could, I would love to do these things.
The problem is, I have. I’ve tried so hard — at several points in the last four years, I was working 40-70 hours a week and trying to pay my way through school. I paid for my freshman year out of pocket because I was in a community college and tuition only cost about $800 per term at the beginning. By last year, it had increased to $1200 per term. I decided to transfer to a “real school,” PSU, which was about $3000 per term, but has definitely been worth the extra money.
I should also mention that while I was working those 40-70 hour work weeks, I was only making $11.57 per hour at the most. This means I was bringing home $1200-1400 per month. Tiny apartments in Portland are about $450-700 per month. Here in Santa Clarita, they start at about $1000, and that’s for a dumpy, paper-thin walls sort of place.
Let’s do some basic math.
If I were paying for a place on my own — Hell, let’s split it and say I live with someone else — I would be paying about $300 for rent and utilities.
Then I’m in school, paying for it on my own. At PSU, you’re allowed to pay for your tuition throughout the term, so you have about 3 months to pay for it. Let’s say it’s about $1000 per month.
I also need food. I have bills, I have car insurance, everything usually adds up to about $250 per month. This means I would need to work about 80 hours a week instead of 60 or 70, just to scrape by.
Okay. Two full time jobs and being a full time student would only take about… let’s see. 80 hours of work, 30 hours in school, 10 hours doing homework… Maybe like 120 hours a week. There are 168 hours in one week. That gives me 40 hours to sleep and eat in 7 days. If I eat really quickly all the time, that’s about 5 hours of sleep per night.
And people wonder why students fall asleep in class.
The idea of barely making enough to “live” wouldn’t bother me so much if everyone were on the same level, or at least close. At this point, there are way more people closer to my level than the rich people I mentioned earlier on. People who have built their entire careers, who have finished school then end up getting laid off because some company isn’t getting enough profit. People with families, people who were considered stable or even well off a year ago, are now homeless.
I know of one family that was quite rich. They lived in an upperclass neighborhood, in a huge white house with a perfectly landscaped yard. It seemed like they had a perfect life — the ideal nuclear family with a rich white couple, two college student daughters who had spent their entire lives in private school, and two dogs.
This family is now homeless. The father lost his job a couple years ago and hasn’t been able to find anything since then — and no, he isn’t just leeching off the system, for those of you who think every unemployed person is just lazy — he was looking for jobs. He was very proud, and felt like he should be supporting his family instead of having his wife and one of his daughters support him. They had paid for their mortgage on time for the 10 years they had lived in that house, and when Bank of America told them that they could refinance and pay less, they of course took the offer.
Then Bank of America said, “Oh, don’t pay your mortgage until we get everything sorted out.”
They then said, “Oh, you haven’t paid your mortgage in 3 months. This house is no longer your home.”
Thank you, wonderful people of Bank of America. We appreciate your clear communication and compassion for those you “serve,” you fucking selfish, immoral assholes.
So this family lost their house and their pride.
There’s a lawsuit open against Bank of America for this very thing, by the way, but it’s $5000 or so to buy in, and not many people who are homeless have a few thousand to spare. Hell, they probably have nothing to spare.
Bank of America also apparently thinks they aren’t making enough money by taking everyone’s houses, so they are also charging people to use their debit cards. How sweet.
The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, makes a good amount of money. He is certainly not losing his house, or struggling to make ends meet, or having to decide between building a future for himself or having a roof over his head. He does, however, seem to think that the best way to make money is to take everyone else’s, even when they already have none.
Mmm, debt with interest. More money, more greed.
This is why people have a problem with rich people, you see. The absolute greed is disgusting. It’s sinful, even. It’s so, so wrong. It also has nothing to do with jealousy. I’m happy with my life. I’m sick of seeing people hurt, I’m sick of seeing people pretend that they have no responsibility. We are all human. We’re all deserving of a chance, and when there are no jobs available because someone has decided he needs another bonus, you are effectively removing that chance.
We can’t just produce more money to give away, that obviously decreases the value of the money. Anyone who has collected Pokémon cards knows that when there are fifty Pidgeys in a deck, it doesn’t mean as much.
Minimum wage needs to be increased. A person should be able to support themselves on one full time job (if they can find one) and at this point, it would be quite difficult to. Someone making minimum wage, working full time, will only make like $17,000 per year, then when you add taxes in it’s about $13,000. When I was working 60 hour weeks, I was making about $22,000 per year. If one person can make billions of dollars in a year, I’m sure they could deal with making one billion less and letting that money go into the pockets of the people who actually need and deserve it.
If you factor in that many people are single parents, that makes it even worse. Someone making minimum wage will have to pay for their home, their food, plus everything for their child. If they’re going to work and their child isn’t old enough to be in school yet, they also have to pay for childcare, which could be around $1000 a month or more.
“Oh, they’re just being lazy and jealous, they should work harder.”
Well, yes, considering that if they are working only one full time job, they probably can’t afford childcare, much less a home for that child. This person will now have to work two jobs. That brings them up to a whopping $500 a week after taxes, plus very little time with their child and virtually no chance of going to school at the same time.
I don’t see how people don’t get that the huge discrepancy between the working class and the incredibly wealthy is an issue. Like, it’s great that some people can support themselves. The problem is that they’re just hoarding all the money, and there are no laws saying that we should be able to make enough to pay for our tuition, children, homes, transportation, and food. Everyone is essentially screwed. I already know that I’m going to be spending the next decade or so paying off the debts I have to accrue to pay for my education, and I just took my first student loans last year.
Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.
The problem, rich people, is that while you have everything, everyone else has nothing. If you think that you’re disliked because you made money, you’re missing the point. If you think that going to school, having a home and being able to live comfortably is a right that only you have earned, you are a terrible person. You affect everyone else by effectively taking their rights, their motivation to try to succeed, and their belief that maybe the “Land of the free” will allow them to have one American dream.
Those things make you a terrible patriot.