Christmas is less than two weeks away and the average American family is financially struggling to make “ends-meet”. Granted there aren’t millions of poor kids standing on the corner selling apples to strangers, à la1931 “Great Depression” America, nevertheless money is certainly tight for tens of millions of Americans who are doing their very best with less money to make the holiday season bright with good food, good drink, decorations and even (if they’re fortunate enough) the giving of a gift or two to a loved one. – In Newt Gingrich’s world (Republican presidential candidate) poor children in struggling households would all work as school janitors to help their family pay the bills –
With an 8.6% national unemployment rate hovering over America like a foul smelling mist, should it be a surprise to anyone that compulsive shoppers aren’t so compulsive anymore? In a country where plastic credit cards once “ruled over cash as king”, moms, dads, boyfriends and girlfriends have instinctively become reluctant to use their credit cards for shopping at Targets, Macys and Toys R Us.
Indeed the pressures of coping with a struggling economy has undoubtedly convinced millions of U.S. consumers to totally discard any feelings of embarrassment / shame they may have once felt for shopping at a charity based retail store. Feeling liberated from the shackles of “public perception” these same shoppers who once wore dark sunglasses to hide their true identity, now shop with head held high at their local Goodwill Store.
Yes, Americans trying to save / stretch a dollar have embraced the charity based retail establishment with the same energy and glee that is normally reserved for Walmart department stores. Remarkably, shopping at the Goodwill Store has now in the shadow of economic hard times, become almost chic.
If there were an individual or entity to blame for this shift in consumer shopping / thinking, who would it be? Current polls indicate that the average American isn’t quite sure who or what to blame for their economic woes. The Republicans blame President Obama and his domestic policies, The President and Democrats blame our country’s woes on greed and an Obama hating obstructionist Republican majority House.
Understanding that most Americans may not have the time in-between working two and three jobs to keep up with who and what to blame for their economic dire straits, the writer of this editorial piece, in keeping with the holiday spirit of “giving” has come up with (in his mind) the top ten reasons why our money is always short and there’s a fight breaking out over a discounted Victoria Secrets woman’s silk robe in aisle 5 at the Goodwill store off of Williams Blvd.
The Top Ten Reasons why Americans now find Goodwill Stores attractive
(1) Fighting a phony ten-year war that cost the U.S. Government trillions of dollars in loans from Communist China has emptied our government’s treasury. Winners: The Chinese Government, Halliburton, (Former Vice President Dick Cheney had / has strong ties to Halliburton…see link), DynCorp, and the Washington Group International. Losers: The American tax payers and the brave men and women who lost life and limb fighting a bogus war that was based on corporate profit.
(2) Greedy U.S. companies that outsource American jobs to foreign countries that pay their workers “slave” wages…ultimately decimating the American workforce….all in the name of “higher profits”. Winners: Chase Bank,Alcoa, Allstate, American Express, Bank of America… actually the list is so long it’s more convenient to review the link that is attached to this article…you’ll be surprised to know who is preventing Americans from finding work.Losers: The American people.
(3) Trade deficits that allow foreign goods to be sold in the U.S. for lower prices but doesn’t allow American goods to be sold in foreign markets without high tariffs being tacked on to them. Winners: Large merchandise chains like Wal-Mart and Target.Losers: American Manufacturers and U.S. Truckers.
(4) A decline in U.S. manufacturing because of job outsourcing. Winners: China, Korea, Japan, Germany. Losers: American textiles, shipbuilding, steel, automakers and toy manufacturers.
(5) The lack of financial support in the form of tax breaks for small businesses. Winners: Large corporations that pay lawyers and lobbyists to represent their best interest. Losers: The small business owner who is underrepresented in Congress and the Senate.
(6) Inefficient and corrupt politicians in both the Congress and Senate who are in reality pawns of the interest of big businesses. Winners: Politicians who accept large campaign donations and undisclosed gifts. Losers: The American people.
(7) The cost of health care and insurance premiums to the average American. Winners: The Health Insurance industry. Losers: The American people and American businesses who offer insurance to their employees.
(8) Resistance from the oil industry in the form of lobbyists who manipulate lawmakers from allowing other industries better opportunities to create cheaper and greener sources of energy. Winners: Oil and Gas companies. Losers: The American people.
(9) The imprisonment of millions of Americans on minor drug charges…imprisonment that economically shatters a family’s ability to generate income and reduces local and national government from collecting needed taxes. Winners: Lawyers, the penal system, local governments and industries that thrive monetarily from having Americans incarcerated. Losers: The American people.
(10) The criminalization of marijuana. Decriminalizing marijuana will generate billions of dollars in new businesses and will put millions of Americans to work. Winners: The liquor and tobacco industries including local governments that generate money for locking up Americans for smoking a plant. Losers: The recreational marijuana user who is subject to lose their job, pay needless legal fines / court fees and face incarceration. The American people who are desperate for a good paying job / career (manufacturing hemp into useful products alone is a near billion dollar industry) and of course the American businesses that are losing billions of dollars annually because tobacco and liquor lobbyists are paying off lawmakers to “just say no” to weed but “yes” to cancer causing cigarettes and alcohol, a liquid drug that adversely affects rational decision making.
Who is to blame and what can we do?
The bottom line is that most Americans are confused on who to blame for this “great recession” that we are experiencing and struggling to survive. The “blame game” on why America is in “the toilet” economically goes across all political party lines. However, it is equally important to know who and what our local and national leaders represent.
Ask tough questions, get involved. Politicians and big businesses are banking on the American people having short memories and being easily persuaded. It’s all about the money. Follow the money and you’ll find the root of the problem. Ignorance is not bliss.
If you can’t afford to buy that new sofa or big screen television, then try something old and proven, that is, save your money and then buy it or try buying it on lay away.
Credit is a trap that enslaves both the mind and the body. Remember that regardless of the political party, most politicians owe some entity a favor for campaign money and votes. The question is, are we as Americans paying attention.
Look, there’s absolutely no shame in shopping at Goodwill stores. Americans have always been savvy shoppers and the negative stigma associated with shopping at charity based retails stores is just plain silly. I should know, I won that fight in aisle 5.
As always Louisianans, the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Do you agree with the top ten reasons why our country is economically struggling, and do you agree that shopping at the local Goodwill store is a smart option for people on a tight budget? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.
Until next time Louisianans, Good Day, God Bless and Good Fishing.