P O S T E D B Y J O H N
Dear Fellow Workers:
Happy Labor Day! It’s dry and sunny in my east coast village with just enough of a breeze to give my American flag a satisfying snap.
I’m writing because I heard money was a little tight for you. I’m going to assume you’re making the current minimum wage ($5.85 an hour) and your tax rate is about 15 percent; your housing expenses, including utilities, are $832 per month; your food costs on the “Thrifty Plan” are about $34 per week; you take public transportation to and from work (about $12.50 each week, say); and you pay about $40 per month for the cheapest phone plan. When I do the math I discover you’re already overspent by $2,631 for the year, leaving you imaginary dollars to buy clothes, do your laundry, and catch the occasional movie, never mind save for your retirement or visit that niece in Columbus.
You might consider ordering a copy of Preparing for a Financial Setback, a handy guide distributed by Northwest Airlines to its employees. The four-page booklet contains suggestions such as shopping in thrift stores, taking “a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods,” and not being “shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.”
Fortunately, the news isn’t all bad. Thanks in large part to your efforts, the richest one percent of Americans now earn 15 percent of all income and own 38 percent of all wealth. There’s also been a boom in the building of mega-yachts, some as long as a football field, creating new labor markets for folks like us. Low- and moderate-income people by the thousands are now able to start military careers in Iraq while helping to preserve our American way of life.
So suck it up. And God bless America!