A generation ago Grandmaster Flash had a huge hit with The Message, with a chorus that went like this:
Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
That was 1982, twenty-seven years ago, but it’s still true. According to a national survey last year conducted by the reputable Harris Poll, nearly four-fifths of wage earners in the self-declared “greatest country on earth” live paycheck to paycheck, with no real savings. As Ted Rall notes, barely keeping his sense of humor. He draws:
Most stories reporting on this finding focus on the personal responsibility of wage-earners not to blow their desperately hard-earned money. USA Today wondered: Are Americans Responsible with Their Paychecks? as if it’s the fault of the underpaid and barely insured that they’re one or two steps from the street.
This blog focuses mostly on climate and culture, but really it’s understandable that people don’t think much about either — who has time for a future crisis, living one or two weeks from a personal crisis?