Which America?

The US economy is back! Well, maybe. The stock market is surging, though that’s not really a good sign of an altogether healthy economy.

Since I work in the financial sector, what I see is mostly anecdotal evidence that the economy is working well… for some.

High net-worth individuals are walking into our office with five and six digit bonuses, clients who are trust fund baby report that they’re jetting off to the far ends of the earth with their every increasing yields and our everyday investors are calling and expecting their returns to be double digits. The corporations they work for (or own) are sitting on piles of cash and just about everyone is upsizing their home or buying a second one.

There’s more evidence in the local news.

A couple of stay-at-home moms recently started a small business called I Hate Camp Laundry , which does pretty much what you guess it does – picks up and cleans your kid’s camp laundry so you don’t have to do it when they get home. Their tagline is: “For just about 1% of the cost of camp, all your cleaning is done!” That 1% equals $169, so you can do the math from there.

I also just read a review of a new restaurant in Philadelphia that seems to indicate a return to the “roaring” economy of the past. Not only do you have to buy “tickets” to the restaurant in advance, once there you are in for 15 courses and four hours of your time, all of which can be had for about $250 per person. And prices are going up this fall. (Interesting aside: the space where the restaurant is located was partially funded with public (state) funds). Some of us are doing well enough to consider, in the words of reviewer Craig LeBan, “… a mortgage payment” on a single dinner for two but how many of us?

Hopefully we’re all benefitting from the first America, but let’s not forget about the other America.

There is still an increasing need for food banks in the area and kids who participate in the school lunch program during the school year sometimes go hungry over the summer.

More people might be employed now that at the height of The Great Recession, but they’re working at lower paying jobs. There’s a persistent notion that raising wages will tank a fragile economy in spite of evidence to the contrary.

So government policies protecting the wealthy and corporate profits have worked and the model of floating monies to the top in the hope that it will trickle down hasn’t worked.

There’s increasing evidence of two Americas. I’m not as militant as Randy Moas

But I think that Nick Hanauer might have a point.


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Filed under Business, Charity, civil rights, economy, patriotism, politics, Vote, Wealth

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