Saturday, December 6, 2014

The American Dream is Dead? No!

On twitter about an hour ago, my friend Vogter2100 posted on his twitter a link to his Facebook where he posted this.

I'm sorry but just as most people of Denmark would have issue with me talking about how much their country sucks, I likewise take issue when someone from Denmark flat out promotes falsehoods about America.  Now I can't blame Vogter too much for forwarding along this myth, as I have no idea how much of American culture finds it's way to Denmark.  Furthermore, I can't blame Vogter too much because sadly there are actually American citizens who think this way as well.  All you need is a picture of some unhappy children and your message will be passed along as true.  

Well let's go through this myth one by one, shall we.

1.  Most people can't get ahead financially.

No source is given so in order to rebut I will change "most" to "many."  Many people can't get ahead financially because they live outside of their means.  Instead of buying used and saving money, people go and buy a new car and make payments.  They buy new clothes instead of going to the thrift store.  Families eat out way more than they did two generations ago.  According to this Gallup Poll Families eat out slightly more than once a week.  Cooking a family meal on a budget can be less than $10 but eating out can cost up to $40 or more.  

According to this survey by CNN about 1 in 4 have no savings at all.  Instead of saving money for a rainy day people live paycheck to paycheck.  They do things like make the minimum payment on a house instead of working hard to eliminate debt.  People today see debt as a way of life, instead of a curse.  Ten percent of every check should go into savings, and never buy things on credit except maybe a house.  Everything else, save until you can afford to buy it with cash.  

2.  Stay at home parent is a thing of the past.

Of course this makes great headlines but is woefully ignorant of the facts.  Stay at home parents is on the rise.  According to Pew Research Center the number is rising for both stay at home moms and stay at home dads.  No of course the numbers are still below what they were in the 1960's but we now have stay at home mothers up from 23% now up to 29% of homes.  This is news to celebrate.  We have too many kids who spend way too much time at daycare, especially during the early years when a child and mother should be bonding.  I once worked with a guy who told me his wife working was costing them in the long run.  He ran the numbers by me and showed me how daycare was costing $2 per day more than the money his wife was earning.  Yet, she wanted to work so he paid for the daycare to make her happy.  

Now in the pew studies listed above there is a small percentage of stay at home parents who want to work but can't find a job in their field, but irregardless of the reason, we need more stay at home parents not fewer.  It is better for the kids.  Now sometimes the man is better suited for the kids.  I have known two stay at home dads, and as long as the kids are taken care of, then the home is happy.

One of the reasons why so many feel they have to work two jobs is living outside of one's means.  Take a look at American houses that are being built now, and compare that to what was built a generation ago. The houses are getting way bigger which of course means more time to pay them off, and also more energy to heat and cool them.  

3.  The rich are more debt-free, the poor are more in debt.

Of course, the rich are more debt-free.  It is foolish to go into debt.  We have young people signing up for tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, then rack up even more with credit cards, then let them go to school with degrees in things like Liberal Arts, Philosophy, ect.  We need more parents to step in and teach kids that going into debt is wrong and should not be a way of life.  Instead of having a university degree be a goal, we should teach our kids that the true money is in knowing a trade.  Your technical schools and community colleges are not only much cheaper to attend but also faster at graduating and you have a much better chance of landing a job.  

With Universities becoming more and more extreme left it is a dangerous place to be for a young man.  The boys are better off learning a trade.  Children today need to be taught how to budget, how to live on that budget and knowing that going into debt is a hangman's noose that the victim willingly places upon himself.

4.  Student debt is crushing a generation of non-wealthy Americans.

A great part of this debt is from attending these 4 year Universities.  Community College and Trade School is where we need to be sending people.  Universities serve their purpose, one of those is research, and the other is preparing the next generation of researchers, scientists, doctors, lawyers ect.  For those who want to be scientists, doctors, ect then I say go for it, but limit how much debt you take on.  Work your way through school, it may take longer than 4 years, but you won't have that crushing load of debt.  

With school tuition continuing to rise many parents fall behind in their college savings account according to this article from Fidelity.  Still parents should spend more time teaching their kids about the dangers of debt and the dangers of credit cards.  Many parents do this, and we need more of them.  It is because student loans are so easy to get that these education costs continue to rise.  The schools know the kids can just borrow more money.  If more and more people avoided taking on tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt, schools would find a way to meet the market demand.  I know when I went to community college I didn't borrow that much, I was allowed to borrow much more, but I took on just enough to cover the cost and it was a very small amount.  

5.  Vacations aren't for the likes of you anymore.

Tell that to the 60 percent of American's who plan on taking vacations.  Yep that is right 60 percent.  There are two surveys that report this.  First we have the liberal spin that is the Huffington Post which says as their headline that 40 percent of American's don't want to vacation because they don't want to come back to a huge pile of work, or that they don't want to appear to be replaceable.  However in a little trick I learned in school I can take that 40% number who don't plan on taking a vacation and come up with 60% of American's who say that they do.  That little trick is something I like to call MATH.  Another survey done by another company also came up with the 60% number.  Of that group 42% will be vacationing for longer than one week, and about half will stay in hotels.  Every job I have had grants one week vacation, and every job but one offered a paid vacation.  If someone is working at a job that does not offer a vacation, my suggestion is to try and find one that does.  It might require spending some time at night school to learn a trade but in the end it is worth it.

6.  Even with health insurance, medical care is increasingly unaffordable for most people.

Ok, it is time to face it.  Obamacare has been a failure for many people.  Although some things have been good such as those with pre-existing conditions can finally purchase health insurance, tighter restrictions on denying coverage ect.  However many families have been hit especially among the unskilled labor force that has seen a cut back in hours in order to help the employer avoid paying medical costs.  GoRemy did an excellent point on this song Parody

Other things to consider for some American's is the loss of their choice in doctor and being forced to find a new one that is "in network" as well as higher deductibles and premiums.  Now this is not the case for everyone.  For everyone who has seen an increase in health care costs, there is another with lower costs.

Don't even get me started on Johnathan Gruber admitting that the Obama Administration had to lie in order for the bill to pass.  Personally I would like to see a true Universal Healthcare like they have in Canada or in the UK or other places.  Part of me believes that Obamacare was designed to blow up like this to make way for Universal Healthcare.  In any case, the American people were flat out lied to, and that is wrong.

7.  To restore the dream we must fight money in politics and income inequality.

Um, no.  How about we don't do that.  Fight money in politics?  You're kidding right.  Look, people have the right to purchase ad space for their political views.  Time and time again the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of protecting the First Amendment rights of advertisers.  Think the little guy can't get a voice?  That is just not true in America.  There is a slew of Political Action Committees out there that collectively buy airtime on TV and radio as well as billboard advertising.  Find one that lines up with your beliefs and donate.  In addition, with the advent of social media anyone can get a trending topic on Twitter.  Anyone can post a video that goes viral.  Then it gets picked up by the news no matter how silly it is.  

In addition, other than looting, how exactly do you fight income inequality.  See this is the problem with many leftists.  They view those who are rich and chastise them for not paying their fare share (When in fact 86 of all federal taxes are paid by the top 25% (97 percent of all federal tax is paid by the top 1%)  Too many on the left view the rich as greedy.  Instead of worrying about their own household, saving up money and working hard.  I don't look at the rich with contempt, I look at the rich as inspiration, I want to do what they do and so I work hard to one day have that life.  I don't sit and complain that my bank account is small, I just work hard to fill it up.

Income equality is a great thing, especially here in America where anyone with ambition can make something of himself.  Just as there will always be people poorer than I am there are people who will always be richer than I am.  

You want to avoid being poor here is how you do it.

  1. Don't have children outside of marriage.  Not only is it bad for the couple, but also almost certainly dooms the child to a life of poverty.  
  2. Avoid buying things on credit, buy used and save the difference.
  3. When you buy a house it doesn't have to be big, buy a smaller house that is cheaper and costs less to heat and cool.  
  4. With the exception of a house payment avoid all debt, and put money into savings every week.  Don't increase your spending with a new job that pays more, pay off the house instead.
  5. Learn a trade, and always be improving and keep student loans out as much as possible.
Now of course this is not a guarantee that you will not be poor but it will help you navigate around the common traps that poor people face.  The American dream is alive and well, that is why we have so many people still coming to America that we have waiting lists.  Don't let the liberals tell you it is over.

To follow up on this discussion join me on Twitter.