I have long struggled with credit due to the fact I often worked for low wages. I had trouble holding onto the good jobs that I was able to secure. As a result I was looking for credit in all the wrong places. I got secured credit cards or other high interest cards. When I bought cars, I paid ridiculous amounts of interest. It was terribly stressful.
But I am happy to report that those days are over. Last year I was able to refinance my car down to a much more affordable rate. I also got a credit card and a revolving loan so that I would not need to go to my family or friends for small loans. It has been a slow and steady process making those payments but I finally did it. As of today I have no balance on either one. So I can breathe a little easier. I also paid off the balance I had been working on with my energy bill. Paying off old and new bills offers so many psychic rewards. Many of the people I assist have been in these same cycles of debt and never gotten out. These companies with their payday loans, unaffordable cars, too expensive furniture and calls to constantly hound you for money are there for one thing: to make as much money as possible off the blood and sweat of poor people as humanly possible.
If you work hard you can celebrate a week when pay off your revolving loan and your credit card. Remember what it takes to get to zero balance and remember to live within your means.
Workers’ Memorial Day poster Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living. – Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The so-called news will be filled with stories about eager shoppers buying whatever junk is in the big box retailers. I am not buying any of it. The only thing I really need is gas and perhaps a check up on the tires before I go out of town on Sunday. But I can do that tomorrow. I have been horrified reading about the way labor has been completely marginalized in stores. Software and just in time scheduling have allowed management to control workers’ lives to the point where people can’t earn decent wages or work second jobs because they’re always expected to be available. Like prostitutes, except for less money. I remember considering applying for a job to pick up some extra cash and finding that I couldn’t limit my hours to one specific shift, for example nights. So I did not complete the application.
Right across the street from me is a house with a poster in solidarity with Wisconsin public workers, who were stripped of most of their collective bargaining rights by our infamous governor. However that law has been declared unconstitutional and workers are bargaining once more. The governor is infamous for his remarks about divide and conquer referring to the way he would turn private workers against public workers and then go ahead and screw private workers.
The workers in the stores may not know up to the last minute whether they are supposed to work. But who would devise a system like that? Certainly not anyone with an ounce of humanity. Not someone who deals with child care or other family issues. But someone who sees workers as widgets to be moved from here to there I need three widgets for 5 .3 hours in that department for this afternoon. I have noticed how few workers there are in the stores, too. All the while the stores report record profits. The stores open more and more locations for ever expanding profits not for us but some nameless investors.
The same prognosticators who were completely wrong about our just completed elections are already speculating about 2016. We don’t get a few days or weeks of actual governing. It’s like we’re being treated like rats on a treadmill. So if you control our economic and political lives, aren’t there ways in which we can resist, stop cooperating, not remain slaves? Yes, indeed, there are. Exercising those brains, such wonderful items. Think for a moment. What on earth could be so important that you need to trample over your neighbors at 2AM? Reporter, is it really news and shouldn’t you be home with your families instead of at the mall encouraging commercialism? For once, I’d like to see someone say, look, we’ve done that story too often, I’m not doing it any more.Today is enjoy time with friends and family not wasting it on junk day.Give the workers a break.
The thing that made the National Football League treatment of its officials so outrageous was that it continued the idea that workers don’t matter. You can just swap in somebody who has no experience in what you’re doing and get the same results. As the NFL learned, experience matters. When we work, we gain knowledge of how things should be. That’s the beauty of having a job. We help to make rules and then we correct rules that need fixing. We know stuff and we need to be treated like we do.
It doesn’t matter that the referees are highly paid professionals. What they do makes it possible for the even better paid professionals around them to enjoy their livelihoods. The other thing about this is that we have noticed in recent years basketball players stuck together during their protracted negotiations with the National Basketball Association. The referees did the same. There were no interviews with the regular refs asking to go back and take whatever conditions the NFL offered. What does this say about the power of unions? You may have to sacrifice in the short term for a long term benefit.
I heard the same narrative in the Chicago teachers strike. And it was exciting to see that after the infamous Act 10 was struck down by a Wisconsin judge, a school district quickly negotiated a deal with its workers. Workers matter, pass the word.
We are scorching our way our way through a hot dry summer with little relief in sight. I’m excited that next week brings my first holiday on the new job. I’m busily rolling up all kinds of firsts these days. First staff retreat, first pay day, first paid training and now my first national day off. My landlord has a couple of grills in the basement that he said I could use. So I am hoping that a friend will stop by. I have indoor and outdoor grills. What is great about this holiday is that apart from shortening the work week (hurrah!) it comes just before pay day. I get to have fun, relax and thrill to the wonders of direct deposit as my pay waits to post to my account. It’s good to take a break from all that strife too as we contemplate the Supreme court decision to be announced later today regarding the health care law.
I’m hoping to be able to buy health insurance at an affordable rate from a new health care cooperative a few years from now. I will be declaring my independence from per-existing conditions at that time. We need to declare our independence from big money stealing our elections. We need to declare our independence from war and discrimination. That’s the kind of independence day we really deserve.
Standup comic Jon S. Corzine, former CEO of MF Global testified yesterday before a House Committee investigating the scandal surrounding the collapse of the company which declared bankruptcy and announced that over $1 billion in customer accounts was missing. Corzine’s testimony wold have you believe that he had no idea where any of that money went and had no access to documents that could tell him where to find it.
Corzine apologized but tiptoed and did the lowest limbo in American history to evade taking responsibility along with his millionaire friends for replacing the stolen loot. I believe that the former offices of MF Global (What a perfect name) should be cordoned off and investigated as a crime scene. Prosecutors should be empowered to investigate any and all leads to uncover the nature of this fraud. They should have the subpena power and other means available to freeze assets, obtain documents and seek indictments.
The criminals behind this billion dollar fraud need to be serving prison time alongside Bernie Madoff while teaching literacy classes to uneducated criminals. There needs to be a new beginning to demonstrate that being soft on crime means ignoring the multimillionaire criminals and that era has passed. Otherwise, the next Corzine will tell us about tens of billions being lost without anyone being held responsible. As Vice President Biden would say, “this is a big fucking deal.”