I’ve been watching a few American TV shows and it blows my mind that they put up with such atrocious working terms and conditions.

One show was about a removal company where any damage at all, even not the workers fault, is taken out of their tips. There’s no insurance from the multimillion dollar business. As they’re not paid a living wage the guy on the show had examples of when he and his family went weeks with barely any income and this was considered normal?!

Another example was a cooking show where the prize was tickets to an NFL game. The lady who won explained that she’d be waiting in the car so her sons could experience their first live game, because she couldn’t otherwise afford a ticket to go. They give tickets for football games away for free to people where I live for no reason at all…

Yet another example was where the workers got a $5k tip from their company and the reactions were as if this amount of money was even remotely life changing. It saddens me to think the average Americans life could be made so much better with such a relatively small amount of money and they don’t unionize and demand far better. The company in question was on track to make a billion bloody dollars while their workers are on the poverty line and don’t even have all their teeth?

It’s not actually this bad and the average American lives a pretty good life like we’re led to believe, right?

  • Tar_Alcaran@sh.itjust.works
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    7 months ago

    1 in 8 lives in poverty (<20k for a 2 person household).

    1 in 4 has less than 1k in savings.

    1 in 2 has less money saved than last year.

    1 in 2 is living paycheck to paycheck

    But thanks to massive income inequality, the average American makes 59k a year.

      • GBU_28@lemm.ee
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        7 months ago

        This. If you are fortunate to have great employment (100k+, dual income preferred (so breaking 200+), depending on location), with good healthcare, your options are great, and you’ll access a higher level of service than most of the world can get. Great schools, great doctors, great home/car/vacations.

        If you don’t have that raw income, and therefore don’t have that support, america is a much much different place.

        I’m fortunate enough to have gone from very low class to a much higher strata and I never get comfortable. I’m constantly surprised by shit that just happens…easily.

        An example: by having good insurance, I have a very good dermatologist. I have psoriasis and use a biologic injectable to handle it completely. Once, my specialty pharmacy had some sort of shipping issue and I called my doc to check in. They said come by.

        They handed me 6 doses FOR FREE, so 6 months of medication, like it was nothing. Each dose is thousands of dollars cash. I pay 25$ with my insurance. I assume a vendor rep dropped a ton off.

        Point being, I know there are millions of folks on very expensive meds, who don’t have a high quality doctor relationship, who could never access that perk I did. Literally paywalled customer service.

        • Trainguyrom@reddthat.com
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          7 months ago

          I recently went back to college and I’m now in my first professional role with real professional benefits and the difference is night and day

          I got sick and had to miss a couple of days of work. I literally just had to send a single teams message from my work phone and could ignore everything else for the rest of the day and still be paid. I’ve had previous jobs where I’d be required to get a doctor’s note by the end of the day just to not be disciplined for my absesnd, which meant going to urgent care which costs more because i couldn’t make a same day appointment with my primary care doctor. Y’know all for a common cold

          I went to go to the office one day (my job is hybrid) and found a 4 inch screw in my tire. I had zero obligation to explain myself for why I didn’t come in when I was expected. I had another time I had a different issue with the car for which I didn’t get around to mentioning why I didn’t come in and I never heard about it. My last job I had a very catastrophic flat and literally had to miss 2 days of work while I waited for shop to get in tires to put on my car

          Every holiday is paid. I’ve had previous jobs where I had to burn literally all of my vacation time to not take a 20% hit to my paycheck for a holiday that I don’t even get the choice of working if I wanted to. I’ve had other jobs where I just had to accept that I’d have to take a hit on a paycheck for a holiday because I didn’t get any vacation time

          If I have an important personal phonecall, I can just answer the call. I don’t have to do some song and dance about burning a timed break or saying out loud to everyone in earshot who sees me getting a call “oh this is an important call, I need to take this” I can just answer the damn phone and get on with it

          There’s usually some snacks somewhere in the building that i can grab for free. If I don’t pack enough food and find myself getting hangry I’m not forced to spend my own money at the vending machine or to go to the store at lunch, I can just go grab a snack and be done with it. I also don’t have to wait for a break, I can just get up and go grab my damn snack without having to explain myself

          Notice how every one of these benefits is not having to spend time and/or money to appease my employer

          • GBU_28@lemm.ee
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            2 months ago

            It is, to the consumer. Obviously I’m not referring to the true manufacturing cost, that would be idiotic. What part of my comment lead you to believe I was referring to anyone who was able to subvert the customer model? Why would you even imply that given the very specific situation, and players I mentioned?

      • Atemu@lemmy.ml
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        7 months ago

        While this may be true today, note that European countries (well, the rich ones anyways) might just be behind the curve here. We’re certainly on our way towards a U.S.-style disaster.

        It’s very hard to generalise this though as cultures here are very heterogenous here. You’d never in 100 years expect the Dutch to fall for the car industry’s strategy of getting everyone dependant on cars to anywhere near the same degree as the U.S. has while you absolutely couldn’t say the same about Germany; we love sucking on those exhaust pipes (especially our politicians).

        • ctobrien84@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          Americans absolutely need cars due to the size of the country. We like our space. We’re not being duped into buying cars for no good reason.

          • Atemu@lemmy.ml
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            7 months ago

            This is a common misbelief.

            There’s a small subset of U.S. citizens who do live in the middle of bumfuck nowhere and actually do need a personal vehicle to get around. The vast majority does not.

            • angstylittlecatboy@reddthat.com
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              7 months ago

              Not true. So much of the US, including many cities is uninhabitable or at least extremely inconvenient without a car due to a lack of planning that supports a car free lifestyle.

              Also, while the majority of Americans live in urban areas, the rural population is not so small as to be insignificant.

              The long term solution is to improve infrastructure and zoning laws to reduce the car centrism of the majority of the USA, this is already being done in many cities, but for the time being most Americans need a car.

            • ctobrien84@lemmy.world
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              7 months ago

              That’s just false. There are vast rural areas and communities in every state. If you think it’s only in a select few states in the middle of the country, then I have a bridge to sell you.

              • Atemu@lemmy.ml
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                7 months ago

                My argument does not hinge on any arbitrary state borders. Read again.

  • GiddyGap@lemm.ee
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    There’s just a lot of inequality in the US that is both socially and politically unacceptable in the rest of the developed world. Extremes are more accepted here.

    There are more extremely rich people than you would see in other Western countries and and many, many more extremely poor people than in other Western countries. Alleviating that would mean implementing policies to redistribute wealth that many Americans are not willing to implement, especially conservatives.

    The US basically sacrifices the good of the many for the great of the few.

    • SelfHigh5@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      And they manage to get poor people on board by tying their policies to Jesus and Family Values. And it works like a charm and it’s so weird.

      • GiddyGap@lemm.ee
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        Which seems even stranger. In many other countries, Christians vote left of center to promote economic equality, reduce poverty, get green policies to protect God’s green earth, make sure that everyone has universal access to healthcare and education, etc.

        In the US, they vote oppotite of that.

        • Poik@pawb.social
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          7 months ago

          Because if you’re poor, it’s because Jesus is punishing you for something. (This is a slight exaggeration of the mindset.)

          For showing my point I like the joke that was made of the pastor in Katrina turning down help from the coast guard three times because God will save me, then drowning, getting to the pearly gates and asking why he wasn’t saved. The response was “I tried three times. You didn’t get on any of the helicopters I sent to save you.” There are direct parallels to religious figures claiming God will save them from COVID and not wearing masks or getting vaccines or anything, then dieing of COVID not months later. And those weren’t jokes. They were in the news…

          Religion is taught very poorly here in a lot of places, and it’s very predatory in a lot of the US. Any religious television here is only a scam.

    • lagomorphlecture@lemm.ee
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      7 months ago

      Every American is a rich man who is temporarily down on his luck and making big societal changes would screw them over when they finally get their money.

      • Chahk@beehaw.org
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        7 months ago

        I forget who said it, “The poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

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    7 months ago

    Honestly was shocked when I first visited. On TV the streets are wide there and everyone has enough to eat.

    Visit (and at this point I have spent time in about half their states) and it is a different story. Broken roads in disrepair. Beggars everywhere, fighting for the chance to ask you for food, water, anything. We stopped at traffic lights and a teenage boy shaking with palsy knocked on our windows begging for food. People mobbed me in one city because I was carrying a bag of apples and they hoped for one as my bag split. I was careful never to give, but was still followed everywhere as an obvious tourist. The only place I did not get food begging on every single streetcorner was Manhattan. I am told this is because they deported beggars to the mainland there. Heartless sods in a capital that gets snow told me “there’s less beggars in winter, the cold gets them”.

    I think you’re right about the jobs, too. There were roadworkers on those broken roads, using jackhammers without ear protection, or even foot protection. I was told it was because they are “free” to bring their own PPE. They looked injured and sick but determined.

    Shops were similar. Waitstaff looked half starved, serving the rich in an obsequious yet hateful way unnervingly like a roleplaying slave. It was disgusting, and ruined many a meal by constant disingenious artificial attention.

    You won’t regret visiting, but it is a ridiculously heartless broken place. The most expensive travel insurance too, for reasons most obvious in their medical stories.

    Yanks are no doubt going to downvote this to oblivion, but it is how I have so far experienced their miserable cities.

      • Thisfox@sopuli.xyz
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        7 months ago

        If we passed through Gary I didn’t notice. The map puts it in the suburbs of Chicago anyway, perhaps we drove through at the end of our stay? Spent a bit of time in Illinois, then went through Cincinnatti on the way out toward the coast.

        These stories are not any one trip, or any one city or state. This is an overview of everywhere in the US as a foreigner. People were begging me for food and stealing food on street corners from (the illinois bit of) Chicago to New Orleans, from Texas to New York. They tapped windows of the car, they stopped me in the street. It was like travelling through what the yanks choose to call a third world country… It isn’t like that in Australia.

        • SwampYankee@mander.xyz
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          I’m not going to tell you all the things you mentioned are impossible. I’ve read your other comments too. I’ve seen homeless women crying in the street, people with obvious mental or physical problems begging. Homelessness - visible homelessness - is terribly common. As far as crime goes, I don’t know, maybe people target tourists? My rental car visibly full of luggage was broken into in San Jose once, and they stole a bunch of electronics. Learned my lesson on that one. Apart from that I’ve wandered around some rough areas on occasion and in 36 years I’ve never been victimized in person.

          Anyway, one last point: according to official stats, the rate of homelessness in Australia is nearly 3x that in the US, although I imagine that Australia probably counts homelessness differently, so it’s hard to compare, but 3x seems like a big difference for simple differences in methodology to account for. That said, I’m sure Australia has better services, so it may not be as visible to the average person, and less of a struggle for those experiencing homelessness. Hard for me to believe things are all that much better in the land of Murdoch, though.

          • Thisfox@sopuli.xyz
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            7 months ago

            Come visit Australia sometime. I am certain no children will knock on your windows begging for food and water when you stop at traffic lights (which happened both in cities and the occasional local township) even if you have a rental car (we were borrowing cars from locals, rentals are often too pricey for me). No one will try to steal your bag of groceries either.

      • Thisfox@sopuli.xyz
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        7 months ago

        If we passed through Gary I didn’t notice. The map puts it in the suburbs of Chicago anyway, perhaps we drove through at the end of our stay? Spent a bit of time in Illinois, then went through Cincinnatti on the way out toward the coast.

        These stories are not any one trip, or any one city or state. This is an overview of everywhere as a foreigner. People were begging me for food and stealing food on street corners from (the illinois bit of) Chicago to New Orleans, from Texas to New York. They tapped windows of the car, they stopped me in the street. It was like travelling through what the yanks choose to call a third world country… It isn’t like that in Australia.

    • Karlos_Cantana@sopuli.xyz
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      Where the hell did you go to see all that? I’ve lived in the US for half a century and never seen any of that. There are some states that need to figure out how to pave roads that will last more than 2 years, but many states have figured that out.

      • Thisfox@sopuli.xyz
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        The roadworkers? Three seperate sites in chicago, then similar seen again in New York State, and in Louisiana. Other places too but they stood out.

        Knocking on our windows to beg for food and water? Everywhere on the east coast. The kid happened in New York State, but similar happened in Pennsylvania, in tenessee, in illinois, in Louisiana, and everywhere really.

        I was mobbed in Pennsylvania during the notorious Apple Incident, it happened again to a friend in Charlestown with a large bag of peaches, but when we were telling this story to a bunch of other Aussies they told me a chilling tale similar that happened to a girl of their number in Tenessee. The third one happened to strangers, but they had no reason to lie to me.

        I don’t rightly know what to tell you, but we saw so many beggars everywhere except manhattan. We did not like getting restaurant meals, tried to stick to takeaway, because waitstaff were upsetting everywhere we went. And if you haven’t seen the massive holes in your roads, society and infrastructure in your time there, it’s likely because you are overused to them.

        America is terribly full of the desperately poor.

        Edit; I have learned not to talk of the incidents that happen once, if I can help it, as I get told they are “isolated incidents” or “just happen in that state”. The girl with the dog crying in louisiana, the orphans we met in ohio, the shaking window knocker, poor bastard… That said, those isolated incidents also add up to a larger truth. All of them were due to a lack of health care or social care. All could have been cured with a little kindness, or the yanks being a little less blind to their fellow man. It is a very harsh place.

      • Poik@pawb.social
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        7 months ago

        Sounds like anywhere in VA that isn’t Alexandria or Tyson’s Corner.

    • Guy_Fieris_Hair@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      I am an American all aboard the “America has some serious issues” wagon, but dude not wearing ear protection was doing so against every single rule. If he got caught by the wrong person him and his boss would be in deep shit. Everything else you said is pretty accurate though. At least for big cities, the type of place tourists go. Just remember 90% of the country is not there. You visited the worst places in the country. It’s still bad though. It is a dog eat dog country and very little help for the needy. The help that there is takes so many hoops to jump through that some people with any problems just can’t do it and they don’t have any advocates.

    • alphabetsheep@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      My guy you shouldn’t have visited New Jersey… In all seriousness though, this is at least partly satirical right? There are definitely some tough spots in America like most places, but when I went to Europe and Scandinavia it was about the same.

      • Thisfox@sopuli.xyz
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        7 months ago

        Hilariously it wasn’t as awful as anyone jokes about when we went to New Jersey. Lived there a week and the people were nice. Great little ethnic supermarkets, smiling people, but yeah just like everywhere else, constant begging. Chicago was more like that stereotype really…

        I haven’t spent much time in Europe, but people there didn’t beg me for food, cry in the street, tap on my car windows begging for food and water, or attempt to steal my bag of groceries anywhere I have been in Europe. They did all those things in many different coties and even small towns in America. Not the same, in my opinion.

  • figjam@midwest.social
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    7 months ago

    Americans are told by the media that they are living “the good life” and that they shouldn’t bother looking at conditions elsewhere. USA!USA!USA!

    • Jeredin@lemm.ee
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      You have to go further than that. A huge population only cares about itself and has made it a part of their identity. Those who have it well don’t have to think about those without: drive to or work from home, live and socialize on internet platforms that isolate themselves from the plight of those with less. They can order everything online and have it delivered to their door - they have no clue and depending on how separated they are from those struggling, they may just say, “those people just aren’t working hard enough,” or some similar line of thinking. It’s not hopeless, but we need far more progress in the US, especially with wage inequality and affordable living/homes. Jeff Bazos is allowed to help buy up single family homes so the rich can rent them out…it makes me so angry and sad.

  • frankfurt_schoolgirl [she/her]@hexbear.net
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    The American economy is built in a very specific way to make certain things cheap and certain things very expensive. The cheap things are gas, toys, commodities, clothes, unhealthy food. The expensive things are education, good food, healthcare, and, in certain areas, housing. That means there are a ton of Americans who live extremely precarious lives, where losing their job would be the end, but they still have a higher level of material comfort than many people would in other countries.

    The other thing about the American economy is that wealth is extremely biased towards older people. For a long time, the system was built around normal working class people buying a house, and building wealth through that. As long as housing prices went up at a controlled rate, everybody slowly got richer. Now, older people own most of the houses. Like I grew up in a small town that was sort of the ideal American dream neighborhood. There were a bunch of other kids on my street, including some good friends. We rode the bus together and spent the weekends hanging out in my friend’s loft. Now, when I go back there, there’s like one family with kids on the street, and everyone else is a retired couple in a huge house that they don’t really need. They have no particular incentive to move out, because it would be expensive and they’re comfortable.

    So if you’re a younger person without in-demand education you really are extremely poor. 5k could really improve your quality of life by letting you get some dental work or something. Although the unemployment rate is low right now, companies are able to collude to some degree to keep entry level jobs precarious.

    • KᑌᔕᕼIᗩ@lemmy.mlOP
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      7 months ago

      I cannot understand the desire to be trapped in a job because without it your family gets no healthcare and will basically either die in a ditch or you’ll get a bankrupting bill for it. Not having universal healthcare even as a safety net scares the crap out of me.

    • TacoButtPlug@sh.itjust.works
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      As an American, I like this answer best on this thread. Not to say the other answers aren’t good but this one tracks the most in my experience.

  • The Uncanny Observer@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    Is it that bad here? Well, to answer your question let me just say that, in America, your very life might depend on keeping your boss happy. Many people live in places where there aren’t many options for jobs, and our healthcare is tied to our employment. If those people lose said job, they might not be able to afford lifesaving medications that they need. Often, those people are too poor to afford moving somewhere with better opportunities. I’m lucky enough to live in a city large enough to provide plenty of opportunity for employment, but I do currently work just four blocks away from the bridge I lived under as a child one winter, because I was thrown out by the Gospel Mission for skipping the morning sermon and prayers one day.

  • Shelbyeileen@lemmy.world
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    Disability (which I paid taxes for, to protect me from poverty if I became disabled) pays a whopping $914/MONTH.

    I sell nudes to afford basic necessities.

    They also have an asset cap of $2,000 which hasn’t changed since 1974. Basically, if I have more than $2k in my bank (or in any valuables like comics or coins) at any time, they take away my food and Medical insurance. If adjusted for inflation, it would be $13k. I’m drowning and lucky I’m an attractive girl, otherwise I couldn’t afford to survive.

    • Christian@lemmy.ml
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      7 months ago

      There are a lot of awful things here but to focus on just one, holy shit monthly rent could go over the asset cap in a few years.

    • lagomorphlecture@lemm.ee
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      Yeah disability is intentionally designed to be awful. You can only have it of you’re dirt poor and it pays so little that you will always be dirt poor. God help you if you live in a place where it’s hard to get separate housing assistance, that has poor EBT benefits, a state that fucked over medicaid, etc. God help you if a family member tried to assist you in some way and now you have ever so slightly too much money. It’s a really messed up system considering how hard it is to get ln disability, meaning that the vast majority of people who have it aren’t scamming the system as some people might like us to believe.

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        I had to lawyer up and fight to prove I was disabled, even though I had medical documentation of seizures, severe Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Tachycardia, etc. If you don’t have a lawyer, they automatically deny you. Lawyers only get paid if they win, so if you’re not lawyered up, they assume you weren’t bad enough for a lawyer to take the case.

        I contacted a senator in my state and she basically told me that Social Security is going to run out, so the cap hasn’t changed because only people with no other choice will be on disability, and it’ll last longer

  • RBWells@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    The main problem we have here is the difference between mean and median income. The average (mean) is fine but not many actually make that. There’s a majority who are sort of poor or very poor, a smaller slice who are average and that’s reasonably well off (not in immediate danger of something dire happening) and a minority who are so fucking rich it skews the average.

    All of this is exacerbated by the lack of social safety net here, we simply don’t do as much redistribution in the correct direction as most rich countries. So it’s harder to be poor here because they are preyed on rather than supported. In those shows you watched, you are correct, the stickiness of capital in the upper classes is the problem, not an overall lack of money.

    It’s just not spread out right. Yes more should unionize and also we need more small to medium size businesses, more growth at the bottom to pull that money back and spread it out better.

    • KᑌᔕᕼIᗩ@lemmy.mlOP
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      This is an interesting take and I think you are right. Apart from unionizing and demanding better there are definitely structural problems in how capital moves though the classes because there’s clearly enough wealth to make a lot of people’s lives better. I mean, that wealth is right there on display in these shows but it’s just not shared with these workers at all except when the wealthy want to big note themselves a little bit.

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    7 months ago

    Consider me as a data point. My salary is in the low six figures. I have a reasonable mortgage and car loan. I also live paycheck to paycheck and have trouble paying my bills every month. I am currently in default on several thousand dollars of medical debt, that I am trying to pay off gradually, but I’m not always keeping ahead of my new medical debt.

    Part of my income goes to helping out some relatives and friends who are in much worse shape, but even without that, I would have trouble breaking even.

    I am just barely short of being in the top 10% of US incomes. The income inequality in this country has left the vast majority of the population struggling. Many can no longer afford enough food or housing.

    • Thevenin@beehaw.org
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      7 months ago

      You’re not alone there. America’s fragile social safety nets and minimal workers’ rights mean we’re all one bad day away from being in your position.

      • Chemo can cost $50k, and FMLA exists (somehow) but only covers 3 months. A cancer diagnosis could easily wipe out six figures of savings.
      • Most employers require prompt attendance, so a car crash that leaves you dependent on America’s crumbling public transit systems will likely lead to losing your job.
      • The GOP is trying to kill off Social Security, so if you ever want to retire, you might have to save twice as much as what’s traditionally advised.
      • With climate change being what it is, losing your house to a hurricane or wildfire is a much bigger threat than it used to be.
      • Economic swings, downsizing, and “k-shaped recoveries” can make jobs vanish or become unsustainable without warning.

      Even for the top 10%, saving for these contingencies typically precludes a wealthy lifestyle, particularly for younger people with fewer savings. There’s now an entire demographic of (mostly millenial) Americans with traditionally high-paying jobs who still live at or below middle-class aspirations due to saving: HENRY, or High Earner, Not Rich Yet.

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      I’m assuming you live in a place with an egregious cost of living, which is not the majority of America. My family has never made more than 70k in a good year, yet lives comfortably in a home bought 15 years ago in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

      The vast majority of the population is not struggling. Too many are, but that doesn’t mean they make up the majority.

      • COASTER1921@lemmy.ml
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        7 months ago

        The home bought 15 years ago definitley helps. With higher interest and pricing explosions in growing Metro areas like DFW, I’d expect the housing payment to be well over 3x if you were to buy now. DFW median home price alone is up 2.63x over the last 15yr alone before considering interest rates.

        • soviettaters@lemm.ee
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          7 months ago

          Certainly. The point is that it’s mainly younger people and people transitioning between stages of their life who are suffering most from the cost of living crisis.

      • Curious Canid@lemmy.ca
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        I live in an urban area where the cost are slightly above average, but not by much.

        Depending on whose statistics you accept, somewhere between 55% and 62% of the country are living paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. That is a literal majority of Americans. It really is that bad and it’s getting steadily worse. I was quite comfortable 20 years ago and reasonably so ten years ago. The dividing line passed me about five years back.

  • AdolfSchmitler@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Well when most employers can fire you at any time for almost any reason (at-will employment) and your healthcare is tied to your job then… yeah, employers can treat their employees pretty poorly and get away with it, especially if you work in something like fast food or big box retail where plenty of young, unskilled workers are entering the workforce every year that they can replace you with.

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    You know it’s pretty obvious that inequality is rampent in the US and people are hurting because of it. Yet the latest polls show just how popular Donald Trump and the Republicans are. Conservatives use to try and hide their true intentions, but today they dont care and will say exactly how much they want Americans to hate other people in the country. I truly wish I could understand why an average Americans doesnt see how much the Democrats have done under the Biden administration to try and fix these issues. I really do believe if the Democrats could finally have control of the federal government, and I mean 2008 levels, we could see some serious change.

    • boCash
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      7 months ago

      Demonization of education has a heck of a lot to do with the issues this country is currently facing.

    • Asafum@feddit.nl
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      For one, propaganda is a hell of a drug. Fox two minutes hate “news” will tell anyone who listens that every single problem you have is the fault of Goldstein liberals/leftists/Democrats.

      A point for Trump is that “conservatives” are also completely jaded and cynical about the system as well as we are, their chosen method is to use Trump to burn it all to the ground and “start new” with their “strong man” who will force the change they want to see. They see Biden as a feckless, weak, liberal who not only can’t fix the issues we have, but won’t do it because he’s in x,y,z persons pocket (completely ignoring that Trump doesn’t need to have someone to serve as he’s serving himself.)

      I think we’re all fed up with the system, but the neoliberal greed is good 80s assholes will continue the beatings until morale is improved.

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          Those in government that make the rules are following the Gordon Gekko “greed is good” mentality (from a movie: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Gekko) that corporations should always seek maximum profit because It Will Make Us All Richer™ (somehow?) everyone driven by self interest will grow the economy, etc… and they’ll continue to enforce that mentality to the detriment of us all.

          We’ll keep suffering and the extremist views of left and right will continue to grow in response so “the beatings will continue until morale improves” joke implys that they’re going to continue to do the same thing that’s driving us insane and somehow expect the results to change for the better.

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    Tl;Dr: It varies very drastically by locale. Rural Americans can often live okay on “very* minimal income. Standards on what " poor” and “normal” vary about as widely between parts of America as they do between America and where you’re from.

    Where I live (Dallas), I’m making around $40,000 in an area where the median is $60,000. I live alone, but I will have to buy a new car this year and I will barely be able to make my payments. I do not have a college degree, and I’m still basically entry level.

    I’ve been looking at moving a lot recently. If I moved where I want to live (Oregon), I’d probably make the same or slightly less money, and my rent and expenses would probably rise by a few hundred a month. In effect, I would barely be getting by if I didn’t have a car payment.

    I’ve also been looking at Chicago, where the median wage is slightly less than I make now, but cost of living is slightly lower, and I’d make slightly more. I also wouldn’t have to have a car, so my disposable income would rise drastically.

    • octobob@lemmy.ml
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      Dog if you’re thinking about moving, come to the best small-town vines rust belt city that has the lowest cost of living in the US, where I was born and raised, Pittsburgh. I love this city to death and it has deep working class roots. I bought an 1800 sq ft, 4 bedroom home that was built in 1890 for $160k in 2020. I’ve been renovating it for the past few years and still got a ways to go but it’s coming together beautifully.

      For what it’s worth, our rent is still well below the national average, and I love this city to death. It’s small, but not too small, but not too large, everybody seems to know everybody, and there’s always always something to do. The geography and nature and rivers really forced this city’s hand a few hundred years ago where now everything is just built around and into mountainsides and deep woods, highways and roads and everything is a snarling maze of studio Ghibli elden ring on ketamine and I wouldn’t want it any other way

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      Would you consider a solid used car?

      In France you can cet a half crappy car for some grands, in Sweden, where I come from, 10k will get you a Volvo rolling another 300.000 kilometers.

      The USA is such a curious (for me sort of imaginary even) place. We’ve been fed USA & USSR and onwards (easy to say the USA was heavily on the win side for teenagers, USSR showed off cool things too for a young mind like heavy tech starship and devastating nuclear power etc. The USA always gave the vibe about “be what you want” though, I’m a big fan :-). How do you deal with the fired at will thing when you get old for example? Is your thirties some sort of retirement hunting time? OPs question sure is interesting for us Europeans I guess(I feel things vary wildly in the EU already! Like retirement in Italy is very personal, in Sweden it isn’t).

      Gotta go mix the soup, cheers!

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        The car I’m interested in holds its value very well, so the lifetime cost is lower if I buy new. I’m also planning on being slightly less poor before buying it.

        And regarding the “fired at will” thing, we don’t deal with it. We just kind of hope. I’m a little bit tistic, so I’ve been fired several times for not engaging in the proper amount of small talk. You get another job and move on.

      • MomoTimeToDie@sh.itjust.works
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        How do you deal with the fired at will thing when you get old for example?

        I mean the most basic answer is that it really isn’t a problem unless you create one. Even at the most bottom of the barrel jobs, it’s still more expensive for the employer to hire and train a new employee than to just keep a current one. This is even more relevant for positions people would consider a “career”. So it’s no like people are just being fired at random or something.

    • AsheHole@lemmy.world
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      Fair warning with Chicago, it may look cheaper but taxes are much higher than Dallas, along with everything in general. Not trying to sway you, it’s a gorgeous city. But, the L has been kinda crappy the past couple years and the winters will be a drastic change taking public transit. There’s tons of job opportunities and plenty of ways to go cheaper here, so I recommend it if you think it would work for you, but plan for it to be more expensive than you think.

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    Don’t confuse the difficulty of unionization with the lack of need/want. Most states are “at will”, which means they can pretty much fire you for whatever, whenever. Couple that with low wages and poor social programs, and you have a vast amount of workers who can’t afford to go on strike.

    However, many of us are living comfortably, with decent wages, insurance, and paid time off. Folks from other places really tend to forget how many people are here, and just how varied the situations can be. It’s not dire for many of us, but if you’re on the bottom, the struggle is nearly insurmountable. Which, unfortunately, is by design. We’re working on it though, just don’t equate tv shows to an accurate depiction of a country of 300 million.

    • FilthyHookerSpit@lemmy.world
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      Came here to say this. Living in New York is completely different than living in a small town in Wyoming. Might as well be two different countries. The available jobs, average wage and education can differ vastly depending on which state and which part of said state.

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    Isn’t the median income like $35k/year? A $5k tip would then be at least a month and a half’s salary for half the workers in the country. That’s pretty significant and a good reason to be stoked. Considering that Americans pay out of pocket what is normally covered by taxes (on top of taxes), yes, I would say that they really are that poor. That’s part of the system though, because as long as workers are tired and in poverty they’ll never have the time and energy, or take the risk of missing even a minute of work, to organize.

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    7 months ago

    It really depends on where you look. In rural areas of red states (states in which the majority of elected officials are members of the Republican party), things are pretty bad. Red states tend to have fewer (read: almost no) social programs.

    I have a bit of a unique perspective on the dichotomy, because one side of my family is firmly in the lower class and the other firmly in upper middle.

    There’s a big difference for the two. It’s like two different countries. For the lower class, what you’ve described is indeed normal. And many in the other classes would not believe that it is that bad for them.

    • frankfurt_schoolgirl [she/her]@hexbear.net
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      7 months ago

      Obviously things are worse in red statea, but poverty is a constant in America. The only reason rich dem areas seem rich is because they force all the service economy workers who make their lattes and teach their kids to commute hours into work every day.

    • KᑌᔕᕼIᗩ@lemmy.mlOP
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      Are these lower classes voting to change this or are they completely brainwashed into voting against their own interests?

      It almost kinda sounds like there’s an unspoken caste system going on in the way you described it.

      • Tak@lemmy.ml
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        A lot of it is decades of misinformation and propaganda paired with limited to no education and what some journalists call “braindrain” where those who do come from these areas and do get educated end up leaving.

      • janNatan@lemmy.ml
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        Oh yes, these states are red because the Republican party has convinced them all to vote against their own interests.

        Many may not understand this, but the single most important voting point to most in my area is abortion. The churches have convinced the masses that it is basically the ultimate sin. They will choose any candidate with an R (Republican party) next to their name on the ballot.

        They’ve also convinced them that social programs are for lazy layabouts, and they should be cut. Even if the abortion issue were somehow solved, it would not change much.

        • KᑌᔕᕼIᗩ@lemmy.mlOP
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          Where I live we’re fortunate enough to have universal healthcare but it’s constantly under attack from the same side of politics that ultimately want to abolish it.

          I have a friend who was going on about cutting taxes and especially not having to pay for others healthcare. Meanwhile, this idiot had just had a baby with his wife with the entire tab picked up by taxpayers, was now receiving family benefits and payments for starting a family and would soon need to rely on taxpayer-subsidied child care when she went back to work and school going forward. It somehow didn’t dawn on him that he himself was reliant on all of this assistance and was getting far more out of it than he was putting in.

          At least he wasn’t so cooked that he was scared of others having abortions but I’ve at least had a taste of this bazaar mentality here.

      • D61 [any]@hexbear.net
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        Lots of us poors just don’t vote at all.

        We’re working all the time, so its difficult to find the time and energy to try to be up to date on the local politicians and ballot measures in any real way and even find time away from work to physically go vote (because who the fuck even knows if the mail in ballots even get counted assuming you can get one and figure out how to mail it back in).

        Also, there isn’t anybody to vote for. Your options are Dem, Repub, Libertarian, Independent. And none of the politicians running under those banners are actually offering any drastic material change to a shitty system. During the last mid terms where I live, I took a few hours to find who was going to be on the local ballot and skim their websites. The farthest “left” candidates were the Dems and the choices where “Religious Person”, “Religious Person”, “Milquetoast Boilerplate Dem”, and “Cryptobro.” None of them run off voting year outreach programs where they help people in need navigate the few social support programs in the deep red state where I live. None of them advocate for vacant houses, apartments, empty hotel/motel rooms to be appropriated by the city government to house those without homes. None of these candidates even really exist outside of the 12 months between filing their intent to run, securing their spot on the ballots before they’re printed, and the final vote counts are certified.

      • agamemnonymous@sh.itjust.works
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        Brainwashed mostly, both parties contribute, but the right wing significantly moreso. Focus is actively concentrated on culture/morality issues like gun control, abortion, sexuality, etc. so that voters make decisions based on those positions rather than material issues. Additionally, American politicians have led a smear campaign against socialism for at least a century. You can’t vote for the scary socialists, they murder babies and destroy the economy and force everyone to get sex changes.

      • axont [she/her, comrade/them]@hexbear.net
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        Poor people don’t vote because they’ve completely checked out. They don’t believe either party represents their interests. They’re correct.

        There is no way to vote poverty away here because the entire apparatus is already owned by the people who want widespread poverty to exist