It’s Labor Day, The Holiday To Spend Now, Pay Later.
Spend Now, Pay Later. Want it? Charge it! Our addiction to over-spending is staring back at us, causing sleepless nights, longer hours at work or a second job. The governments save the banks and large corporations by bailing them out. They stimulate the economy, by passing bills to create jobs, Spend Now, Pay Later. They lower the interest rates, to the point that they can go no lower.
Spend now, is no longer happening, expendable income is gone, except for the 2% of the population that isn’t affected by this downturn, this recession, this depression, at least to the point where they’re losing their houses. But even the top 2% have put a halt on their yearly trade in, on the newest model Mercedes. Besides, this group is not the part of the population that turns the economy around, they never were and they never will be. It’s the middle class guy and gal that goes to the mall and spends some of their paycheck on the newest shinny electronic toy or this seasons must have denim jean.
So we settle down and learn to live, for the time being, on what we have, so we can catch up, from our, Pay Later. Even as new computers get faster, smaller and less expensive, we can stick with XP for another year. Better yet, we become financially smart and decide to pay down those large credit card balances, that most of us couldn’t remember what we got with them in the first place. We o know, how our monthly payments that never seem to go down.
And why won’t they go down? Perhaps at the end of the month you got to the point of having to make a decision. Whether to make the mortgage payment on time and letting the credit card bill slide one week. But then we find out on the next months Master Card bill that the 5% interest rate is now 25% because you were a week late. Even though, you have been using that same Master Card for the last ten years, and never late with your payment. Surely they will take that into consideration. Now, the $10, 000 you owe Visa, will never get paid down. Because every monthly payment from here on out, will go to interest and never the principle. (Every other commercial on radio, are new companies negotiating lowering credit card balances. A new snake oil sale pitch.)
That’s not going to happen to you! You will work longer or get that second job, so you can pay that bill, and vow never to charge again. So the resume goes up on Monster. Your college degree and extensive work record is now being challenged by the other 18 people who also applied for that part time job at Sears or JC Penny. But you have a great work record. You are even willing to work for $10 an hour. So they hire you. The other 17 people who applied, are your next door neighbors kid or yours. They have never worked before and now need to stay living at home with mom and dad. Forgoing that vacation or early retirement. They now must house and feed the kids. The cell phone bill is scrutinized, the all inclusive plan is now the basic one.
No one is buying the $70 hoodie at Abercrombie. Now they hire less and ask more of their employees (we hope they also cut down on the spraying of perfume in the store, every 10 minutes). The second job is as hard if not harder then your main occupation.
Many lost our main jobs and you pray to God that you can make it on a part time job and maybe supplement it with unemployment insurance. The insurance you pay out of your salary, every week. Now need it, only to find out that so many others are on it and have extended use of it for so long, that the money set aside for the unemployed is now drying up. Our lawmakers now vote to supplement it. So they pass a bill, to fund unemployment. Spend Now, Pay Later.
This scenario plays out everyday and in all parts of the nation, no the world. We no longer buy at Nordstrom’s, but instead we go to Walmart, to pay less. Of course it’s less. It was made in China, Malaysia, (insert any third world, poor nation). Where they work longer, make less and know what owning one shirt is. Now, we buy less,we have less and yet we whine, even though we have shirts in our closets, that have never been worn. These countries where labor is cheap and jobs once plentiful, are now laying off workers, asking them to do more for less.
This weekend, is the non official marking of the end of the summer. It has been traditionally set aside to celebrate the laborers of the country. New idioms and neologisms come up now, bubbles that burst, staycations, bail outs, underemployment. Now heard more frequently then old idioms, like nest eggs that are gone in a New York Minute. Of course the old ones might mean more now then ever, like ” A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted“, “A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush” and for us, one that we wish our elected officials would take heed, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words“.
Money or the lack of it, now dictate our holiday plans for us. Remembering the movie Wall Street where $100 bills were used to snort up the cocaine and the most used idiom of the ’80′s where Gordon Gecko uttered the iconic “Greed Is Good”. Looking back now, the thought that the addictive substance were the lines of white powder are today looked at differently. But the real addictive substance were the rolled up Benjamin used to snort the coke with. Perhaps that has always been true, and many of us never thought we would run out.
Last but not least, it is now OK to where white after Labor Day! That we can all agree on.
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