Ah there it is again! The yearly article about how Americans are doing so poorly. Never mind the fact that these figures are purely subjective and statistically skewed. Question of the day: Would you rather be poor in the USA or middle class in a third world country? I'll take poor here every day and twice on Sunday! I currently live at twice the poverty level and I promise you it isn't that bad. Actually I never noticed how poor I was, until the govt told me. Woe is me!
Why do you think children of immigrants do so well? I've known many who have managed to get through college, pay off their loans (including law school), have a career, and own their own home all by the time they're 30. I think a big part of it was because they didn't fuck around during their 20's "trying to find myself" like the rest of America thinks they should. When you grow up with nothing, it's considered selfish to be lazy and muse as to whether you should be a poet, hippie, or rock star.
Somewhere between the Greatest Generation and the Whiniest Generation, something forgot to be handed down. This is typical of all societies though. The richer they become the more entitled they feel. The same applies to families. If you haven't heard the new word "affluenza" you should google it to know what I'm talking about.
Now I'm really going to confuse you. You don't need to work harder. That's part of the problem. If you read the article above, you'll see a common theme among the complaints, "...we work harder, but just can't seem to get ahead." Whatever the freak "ahead" means! Ahead of who? Ahead of what? Your neighbor, that's who! Recently when I was helping somebody with their finances, they used the "s" word in front of me. That's right they said they don't see why they should have to "suffer" and turn off their cable. I had to punch myself in the face so that I wouldn't get arrested from beating them.
Western society, especially the USA, has a spending problem, not an earning problem. The reason you can't get ahead is because you piss away your paycheck, not BECAUSE OF your paycheck. Americans live in the most affluent society on the face of the earth that has ever existed and 2/3 of them feel like they can't get ahead. Are you shitting me?? Do they have any idea how stupid that sounds?
Now I'm going to tell you something that no politician or ivory tower economist is going to tell you. If you're like the average American, than your situation is 90% your fault. There's a moment in your life where you are particularly vulnerable, but after that it's usually due to piss poor planning as to why you're in a predicament. That time in your life is your early to mid 20's. You're vulnerable because you're making crappy money, broke, and most likely have debt. You should just starting to be building an emergency fund (hopefully), so if something happens to you, you could be bad off.
I'm going to leave you with a little food for thought. The inequality that you see in society is due to mathematics, not greed, not government, not the rich, not anything. Here's why...
Let's look at the mechanical engineer Ryan in the article above. He's 26 and let's say he is a crappy engineer in RI, which means it's probably impossible for him to make less than $50,000 (saves $10,000 of this per year). Let's then look at Warren Buffett. He made around $62,000,000 last year just from salary and dividends. In order for there not to be anymore income inequality between these two people, the government would have to tax Warren Buffet at around 99.99998% of his income. That would leave both parties with savings of $10,000 going into the new year. Now I'm sure some of you think that this is an acceptable tax rate, but taxing somebody at a rate of 99.99998% seems a little extreme. Not even Karl Marx was willing to go over 90%.