No one here is saying that the members of this blog are shiftless, conniving twits who should be locked away in some separate colony. Weare all looking for solutions to get out of debt and stay that way; at least, I think that is the intent. Not everyone will approach the situation from the same viewpoint for obvious reasons.
As I have stated before, I thrived due to Reagan’s trickle down economy. I put myself through college with the sorriest excuse for a GI Bill (1978-1980 version) and working 3 part-time jobs, plus serving in the Army Reserve. I then returned to the Army and completed 23 years of service. The pension is nice but does not cover enough bills. Adding the pension to my current salary (fourth career change in my adult life); I am approaching the mark of the 10% who pay 90 % of the taxes and it bothers me that I am being lumped into the group of the filthy rich – or the assumption that I am the rich white guy.
I do not subscribe to the philosophy that I am the Captain of my fate – God is; nor do I buy into the idea that I have ever been the victim of circumstances. I do however, subscribe (though not perfect) that I am to be a good steward of what I can control. Example – I made the decision to move my wife’s IRA into a Travel and Leisure fund in May of 2001, by October, it had lost almost 70% of its value. I made the decision, when it had regained to 50% of its original value, to move it into something more secure. If I had left it alone, that fund would be double what it is now. We cannot tell the future, we make decisions for the future based on our present situations and knowledge. Yet in the long-run, it is our decision how we are going to act or react.
I get annoyed quickly with certain attitudes I see sometime. As when people assume that I must be among the filthy rich and can afford to pay more in taxes (they do not know that I carry $20k in unsecured debt and $220k in secured debt). Another one is the assumption that corporations actually pay taxes or absorb debts out of their profits. The reality is, if they can, they will pass these on to the consumers so fast that it barely shows up on their balance sheets. The worst one I see is the idea that the government owes me a job (especially in the career field of `MY’ choosing), a house, food, a car, medical care, computer, the list is endless. People have confused their right to work and pay for these items without interference from the government with the idea that the government should provide for it. I do not, however, get upset over the Paris Hilton’s of the world jetting around in luxury. My wife and I may not be rich in money, but we are far richer in ways Paris will probably never know or even comprehend.
I do not wish to get this forum way off its intended topic. I would suggested, anyone desiring to carry on this conversation, replying via e-mail rather than use the blog.
It’s a matter of priorities, however, and I don’t think that anyone minds paying taxes if they agree with how they’re spent. Like yourself, many people like myself see our government’s money squandered to protect special interests and to make corrupt rich people richer and even more corrupt. This is just simply wrong in a country that purports to exist for the people.
I’m not sure what a “fair tax” is and one may not exist, but this country did extremely well for all of its people all the while the highest rates were 70 to over 90 percent. The recent tax breaks for the top have largely gone straight out of the country and it’s unheard of to cut taxes during a war. By any measure it’s stealing from the little guy to give to the rich. There was never a “trickle down” and it’s one of the reasons so many people are hurting. Give a break to the people, not as a handout they way the rich and the mega corporations get it but in the form of a low interest loan or grant for education, and we’ll spend more at the corner store. One of the best investments this country ever made in itself was the G.I. bill which educated millions of people. My brother wouldn’t have his PhD otherwise. Who has such vision in today’s government? It’s every man for himself now.
Oh, in my case, my debt is due to being a business owner who ran a successful company for thirty years until this administration demolished the local economy. I sell a lot to other businesses and most of my customers have been hurt, bankrupted or moved out of the area. As a result, I’ve had to lay off many people and downsize to the point where my wife and I work for free just to make minimum payments on our secured business loans and my daughter may never finish college. Certainly, it’s people like ourselves whom the framers had in mind when they began this experiment. Meanwhile, I know a fellow who never worked a day in his life who’s spending his inheritance windfall millions to purchase a Czechoslovakian jet for himself. Sales of foreign made private jets and yachts have experienced staggering growth the last few years. What’s wrong here?
This is not the land of opportunity any more unless you’re a poor immigrant who had it even worse elsewhere. “The Economist” recently reported a study that showed that the US is one of the worst places in the industrialized world to change one’s standard of living through hard work, so pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is now more a myth than ever. Even with their socialist tax rates, there’s a better chance of getting ahead in Sweden or Finland than here because their priorities tell them to reinvest their taxes in people. These days, you have to either be lucky or corrupt to get ahead in the USA.
As a New Yorker, I’d like to update the poster who joked about the “guy who set fire to his house so his wife wouldn’t get it in a divorce settlement.” He didn’t set fire to the house; he blew it up.
And innocent people were injured, at least one very seriously. His wife may get less money than you think, because the injured and inconvenienced are likely to sue the heck out of the estate. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that there’s no gain in lashing out at real or perceived injustices. In a financial dilemma – lost job, cancelled account, usurious APR, etc. – we’ve got to focus on the future and act constructively. Of course. few in this group need a reminder, since (from what I’ve read) most of us are doing exactly that.
I wasn’t joking about it. I am sorry if you thought I was. I realize it was/is a very serious matter. I knew he blew it up and it resulted in a fire.