"How'm I doing?" was a famous question posed by then Mayor Ed Koch of New York.
He was fine but for the rest of us it's a different story!
So before we send up our votes and elect more of the same let’s have a quick look at the economics of the last 20 years or so.
No matter what they say or how they spin it spending went up under Republican Party leadership and 90% of us fell behind the other 10%.
Under their control the speed with which the wealth gap between the dwindling middle class and the wealthiest 1 or 2% increased has been remarkable. It is close to the point where we may never get back our former mojo!
The Democrats, while appearing to be on our side have not been all that effective.
While the Republicans have steadfastly blocked many of the things Democrats wanted to put in place they often meekly gave up trying.
Clearly some things on the Obama agenda have gotten done, not the least of which has been the Affordable Care Act. But no one can deny the hate this engendered from the party of the ‘right.’ They have repeatedly wasted tax payer dollars voting to repeal a law the helps every living being in America this side of the elite 2%!
So let’s get down to some actual numbers.
WHAT HAS GONE UP OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS?
Despite the recent drop in price gasoline averaged $1.11 per gallon in 1995.
The most recent average price as of this writing for a gallon of gasoline is $2.28.
Health Insurance Premiums:
In 1999 an individual was covered for just over $2,000 and the family for around $6,000.
This one is tougher to explain but since employers are figuring their costs into your salary the overall cost of health insurance should be considered.
Obviously if employers did not have to pay as much they might offer workers a raise.
Sadly there are very few of those around. That said the average health insurance costs are just over $8,000 individual and more than $28,000 for a family!
And some other invisible costs we all take for granted that were hoisted upon us by the greedy and totally unnecessary insurance industry:
· Lifetime Payout Caps
· In / Out of Network Demands
· And the old right of first refusal of any claim made regardless of veracity!
Auto Insurance Premiums:
Every region is different and drivers’ age also enters into the equation but can anyone say without fear of successful contradiction that the prices have not gone up, WAY UP?
In 1995 you could get a year’s policy for, let’s say $1,000.
In 2015 you would be lucky to get a policy for $1,000 FOR SIX MONTHS!
Auto insurance, like all other insurance has figured out many ways to get around price increases that annoy customers. For one why wait for the end of the year when 6 months in you can redo the entire thing and gouge people?
Homeowners’ Insurance Premiums:
Just as in auto insurance it is hard to compare apples to oranges so I will use someone close to me for the numbers.
In 1995 a modest Long Island home was insured for under $1,000.
In 2015, after switching 3 times to get a lower rate for the same house the insurance was up to $2,300 and it no longer included things such as flood insurance!
Once again an insurance industry figured out a way to charge more while adding fear to the mix. People used to be covered for floods but once it became a possibility due to climate change, a fact denied by so many of our leaders, they realized they could remove it by merely saying it was never mentioned! Does the word scumbag come to mind?
The fact is your home’s value has not gone up nearly as much as the cost to insure it! And not too many insurance companies, if any will tell you that you are over insured and heaven forbid if there was a disaster you will never get back what you think from the bastards of the industry that calls itself the Peace of Mind people!
Check out how much your replacement value is and then call your agent to lower the value and save a few pennies!!
In 1995 major NY bridge tolls were at an already too high cost of $3.50 each way.
In 2015 they have jumped to $8.00 each way and the hints that they will have to rise shortly is not altogether a welcome threat.
The Long Island Railroad fares have increased steadily with service lagging since records have been kept.
In 1995 depending on how far you had to commute into New York City your fares for a one way ticket were between $3.00 and $15.00.
Today those fares are between $8.25 and $28.25 with another 4% to 9% increase possible within a year or two.
EVERY DAY HOUSEHOLD COSTS:
Costs for a normal household more than tripled from 1995 to just 2011! Imagine what the numbers will show when tall the data is in for 2015!
Eggs cost $1.15/dozen then - $3.00 now
Milk cost $2.50 then - $4.10 now
Stamps were 32¢ and are now 49¢.
THINGS THAT USED TO BE FREE:
I will let you place the price you now pay for items that used to be free.
All Radio, especially in your car
Water in your home
WHAT HAS NOT GONE UP OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS?
EXPECTATIONS OUR CHILDREN WILL HAVE COMFORTABLE FUTURES
CONFIDENCE IN OUR GOVERNMENT TO DO THE RIGHT THING.
CONFIDENCE IN OUR GOVERNMENT TO DO ANYTHING!
The fact is the wealthy and the business owners and basically the Republican Party which kow tows to anyone with money has sold out the Middle Class to the point of absurdity!
Normal humans can no longer hope for a bright future in America for their children.
The American dream has become a total nightmare and no one is on coming out to stem the tide.
I do not know what the future holds but I can say if these numbers continue in this direction America is truly doomed.
I hope the wealthy 1 or 2% can get someone to do their bidding because the rest of us will either be dead or have moved to some country that actually cares about human beings!
In conclusion and in light of the above I must add one major intangible item that has gone up!
But the cost of this one comes not in terms of money but rather hypertension, road rage, violence, and extremist views caused by the right wing drumming their mantra into the heads of the susceptible weak minded and under educated masses.
GENERAL ANXIETY & FRUSTRATION:
· It’s the fault of the illegal aliens!
· No, it’s the fault of the Muslims!
· No it’s those damn liberals!
· No, it’s the fault of the gays and lesbian
· Why do we have to allow same sex marriage?
· No, I think it’s the all the abortions!
· No, its groups like Planned Parenthood!
· And the list goes on and on while the politicians stoke the fires and get rich doing so.
How can the direction America has taken since the days of Reagan be changed?
Is it possible to reverse the effect our growing oligarchy is having on our lives?
While hope may spring eternal our life span is not. So we need solutions now.
For one we must reduce the control of wealth on our government and return it to the people for which it once stood!
A good start would be the repeal of the unbelievably wrongly named ‘Citizen’s United’ ruling. This must go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court. But then again it is a Conservative leaning court and one that has no trouble screwing the average human!
And we must stop thinking of corporations as human beings! THEY ARE NOT!!! END OF STORY!
Voting rights must be returned to every citizen and those who wish to impose poll taxes must be prosecuted and if found guilty lose THEIR rights!
We must work toward true health care for all citizens and push for a ‘single payer’ system so we can join the rest of the civilized world!
Industries that have shown themselves to be poor stewards of the Earth and human rights must be regulated and harshly punished if they fail to meet our American Way standards. As a couple of examples of which ones need to be scrutinized look at the insurance industry and of course the fossil fuel groups.
Elected officials should all have term limits, none to exceed 8 years.
No campaigning should be allowed until 75% of the current position’s term has been completed. In other words there shall be no campaigning for the next President until the 3rd year of the current President has been completed.
The things that are wrong with our country can be fixed if everyone would just educate themselves and seek out the truth. The internet uses a protocol known as URL to find what you are looking for when you surf the web.
You should use URL as your mantra in the following way:
Understand – Read – Learn!
We are all in this together.
As Ben Franklin once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately.”