We haven't asked this question in awhile and today seems like an appropriate day to do so: Are you confident that your economic life is getting better and heading in the right direction?
A lot of people clearly are.
The Associated Press reports today that Americans increased their borrowing in November by the largest amount in 10 years. The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose $20.4 billion in November, the largest increase since a $28 billion gain in November 2001. A category that measures credit card debt rose by $5.6 billion, the most since March 2008.
Auto loans also took a big jump.
The total increase works out to about $65 per person in the U.S.
For all accounts that accrued interest, the new debt has an average annual interest rate of 13.67 percent.
Have your good times returned? Or are you just replacing the things that have worn out from a decade of trying to make do.
Let's see - "average annual interest rate of 13.67 percent" on this new debt. Per Yahoo Finance, 10 year treasury bonds are paying 1.96 percent. Does anyone still question the need for consumer protection on the part of the government?
For me, it's more about confidence than it is about things being different. Cash-wise, I've been doing well. However, I wasn't completely confident that my job would keep existing. I haven't been laid off, but I've been surrounded by layoffs at work and among my friends for three years. I'm finally feeling secure enough now that I'm buying my first home in the next few months.
I would argue that, while things may be starting to turn around for many workers, unionized workers are facing greater strain than ever. I'm usually not one for conspiracy theories, but it seems clear at this point that the Great Recession has emboldened the anti-union types who run our corporations (and increasingly, our governments) to the point that they are waging an all-out war against any employees who dare to assert the right to collectively bargain a contract.
In my heavily unionized industry, which I won't name for fear of reprisal, the multi-millionaires who control things are demanding absolutely draconian cuts at companies across the country from the people who actually do the work, and then refusing to budge off their initial proposals for months on end. Any attempt to actually bargain is met with open derision. Again, this is happening industry-wide, at companies like mine all across the country. Worse, it seems that the NLRB is now almost powerless to enforce the labor laws that allowed the rise of the American middle class in the first place, even as that middle class shrivels in front of us.
I've honestly never been much for class warfare, and I've never been a huge booster for my decidedly imperfect union, either. But the current coordinated assault on organized workers is one of the great unreported stories of the era, and it's driving me further to the left with every passing day.
Well said, Sam. Except for the "class warfare" reference. I would have put it in quotes or preceded it with "so-called." That's a Republican term used to further deride and marginalize those of us who share your concerns.