Mary Beth Writes

 I have been reading about the people who attacked our nation’s capital on January 6th.

These two articles are good.  From The Atlantic (Read here )  and from The Lowdown, a blog by Jonathon Low  (Read here) 

These articles ask and partially answer the question - Who were those people? The FBI has been arresting and charging them. This gives reporters the names they need to investigate these individuals. By the Atlantic publication date of February 2, 235 persons of the 800 who mobbed into the capitol had been charged.

What did the Atlantic researchers discover? (These stats could and probably have changed since 2/2.)

  1. The attack on the Capitol was an act of political violence, not a disorderly protest that spiraled out of control. 
  2. 89% of those arrested had no apparent affiliation with militant organizations.
  3. The average age of the arrestees is 40.
  4. 40% are business owners or hold white-collar jobs.
  5. Only 9% are unemployed.
  6. More than half came from counties that Biden won; 1/6th came from counties Trump won with less than 60 percent of the vote. Which indicates these people were not from deep, red, Trump-supporting counties and cities.

From the Lowdown blog:

“60% of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades. The group’s bankruptcy rate, 18%, was twice as high as that of the American public. A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home.”

I have these thoughts.

The American media – TV, movies, books, computer games (I bet) have done a mediocre job of addressing the American stress of working people with low income and big debt. Talking with Franc earlier today, we agreed that Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered is the only novel we can think of where chronic grinding financial stress is the problem around which a story unfolds.  I’m sure there are others – but what have you read or watched lately that seemed realistic - and the thing the middle-class people were trying to get past was not having enough middle-class income?

Yet consider your life or that of your friends.  How many folks do you know who struggle to have enough resources to live their life? 

I don’t mean families living through gambling, drug addiction, alcoholism (though boy, is that real). I mean people who are working and yet cannot get out from under a mountain of debt?

Poverty caused by the pandemic and resulting economic freefall is real.

So are these situations.

1. Educations loans: 1 in 4 Americans have student loan debt - which is 45 million people. Average student loan debt amount is $37,000. Average student loan payment is $393 per month.         https://www.nitrocollege.com/research/average-student-loan-debt

2. A family with someone who has a chronic medical/mental health issue. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2019 found that 66.5% of bankruptcies in the U.S. were due to medical issues such as being unable to pay high bills or due to time lost from work.

3. People who lost much of their equity in the Great Recession. We bought our house for nearly $50,000 less than the previous owners paid pre-2008. Read Nomadland by Jessica Bruder. I’m interested to see the movie when it comes out this week.

​​​4. Job loss. How little have you read or heard about people in their 50’s and 60’s not being able to get a job after being laid off?

5. Divorce crumbling whatever financial stability the couple may have had.

6. Unexpected disaster such theft or graft or the aftermath of climate change fire, floods, and  weather.

There is a dangerous myth that owing money happens to people who buy too many lattes. That’s crap. We need politicians who are not insulated by their wealth. We need solutions that work for Walmart workers, not for Walmart.  We need people who will tell us in all the ways there are to tell – that working fulltime and not being able to afford rent, food, and life – is not an individual's failure. 

We need sitcoms, police dramas, mysteries, songs, novels, and comic books that present stories we can recognize.

So let me ratchet this up a degree.  What if you started your own business?  What if, after working 50-80 hours a week, you own huge amounts of Social Security, taxes, and health insurance premiums for your employees – and you put this off and then you put it off a little more. Because small things happen, and you float that debt thinking you can catch up next quarter. 

And then the day happens when the IRS locks your accounts because you owe tens of thousands of dollars.  You still have a pretty nice home that is underwater, but your family doesn’t know that. Your family and friends and clients think you are middle class.

You are not sleeping. You are drinking too much. You are on edge and angry and way too high and way too low. And now some politicians and pundits talk about how much money immigrants or people needing “welfare” are “cheating” the system. 

I’m not excusing the rioters.  But if we want some insight into what’s going on, I think we need to look hard at how difficult it is to be a go-getter American.

Get health insurance off the backs of business owners. Make a tax system people can understand. Let it be 50% for everyone, and then let the government pay for health care and provide excellent education and daycare (I didn’t talk about the cost of daycare, did I?).  

We have created this system where schools do all the social work and businesses fund health care and the already rich get to buy their politicians and judges ... and people are crazy stressed. 

 

Tags

Comments

Hi Mary Beth - Thanks for your insight on the people involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol attacks. Financial stress as a contributing factor was not on my insurrectionist bingo card. It does make sense, though. As usual, money makes the world go ‘round, or makes it grind to a screeching halt. I’m looking forward to the day when we can discuss this (or anything, really) in person. Fondly, Carol
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for responding. You and i are are both secure now - and we both know that financial security isn't a side note in anybody's story. I can't wait to talk with people again. I think it will be sooner rather than later - a benefit of being on the far side of 65. Which you are not, you young thing, you...

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Waukesha's Holiday Parade & Us

This photo is of Milwaukee's 'Dancing Grannies'. Some of them were killed and hurt yesterday. 

11/22/2021

Coming & Going

11/18/2021

And just like that, my website is back.

Behind every website are a zillion lines of code. If you want to see what that looks like behind a page you are perusing – do this: On a computer (not on a phone) right click on any segment of a website. A box will open, click on Inspect and that will show you the code being used in that part of that website. You can’t mess with it, but you can see it.

...and we’re home …

11/12/2021

Many of you sent emails and notes and we read every single one. Thank you! We loved the photos of where you live and what you are seeing in your world … and Neal, that fish that you caught is BIG!

A very small update on the very big upheaval In Len’s and my life

11/7/2021

We are doing pretty well. Len has 46 staples in his head – the rehab admitting person counted them. Not sure if I wanted to know, but now I do.

His mind, brain, coordination, balance, and motor movements all seem to be exactly the way they always were. Twice he has politely helped the professional therapists who are helping him – unscramble some confusing things on their computers.  

I will be away for a while

Last Tuesday Len went for a big bike ride in the morning. He came home, did some chores, took a shower, ate lunch, laid down for a nap and when he got up he fell on his head.  His nose rivals a boxer's nose after a bad night.

THE USED BOOK SALE IS COMING!

What are you doing November 3-6 and/or November 11-13?

Do you

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent anniversary antlers apples Arrows Ashland August Augustine baby balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada cat romance cats cello Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering depression Destination Today Detroit disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd ghosts gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark groceries Guatemala guns happiness HaveYouEver? Healthinsurance HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HouseinBlueRiver hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland Ocotillo OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Remember Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb rime RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards ThreeThings Three Things TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding WhyAttendChurch Willa WillaCather Wisteria
Ad Promotion