Saturday, April 16, 2016

How do you grow the economy when 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings?

It's an astonishing statistic: 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. That's according to Senator Bernie Sanders:

Fact-checking this is easy. A search for "Bernie Sanders" and "62%" and "savings account" brings up this article from Market Watch at the top of the search results leading with the following quote:
Americans are starting 2016 with more job security, but most are still theoretically only one paycheck away from the street.
Approximately 63% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair, according to a survey released Wednesday of 1,000 adults by personal finance website, up slightly from 62% last year. Faced with an emergency, they say they would raise the money by reducing spending elsewhere (23%), borrowing from family and/or friends (15%) or using credit cards to bridge the gap (15%).
Now compare the American savings rate with other developed countries:

Notice that our socialist friends across the pond have nearly double the savings rate of our country. Just how do they manage that? Could it be that they've managed to limit the influence of big money in government? I think so.

I saw a video of the rally Bernie Sanders had in New York at Washington Square Park that was held on April 14th. There were at least 27,000 people attending. Streets were filling up long before the start of the rally:

They know that something is very wrong with the economy and that something needs to change. They know who they're up against:

All those tapped out donors to Hilary Clinton's campaign are not out of money. They've hit their legal limit for making direct contributions. While Bernie visited the Vatican (with the assent of the very liberal Pope Francis) just before the election in New York, Hilary attended $2700-a-plate fundraisers with very wealthy donors to get additional funding for her campaign. Trust the Republicans have their own big money donors, too.

Can any billionaire living in the United States say that he or she is proud that 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account? Are they proud to say that most people are one financial hit away from being on the streets? If establishment politicians want to keep the status quo, how do they expect to grow the economy when so many people do not have the money to spend to grow it?

That is what this election is about. The wealthy cannot grow the American economy without the rest of us. They need us, but over the last 30 years, have been trying to figure out a way to grow their own wealth without us. There are some who say that wealthy Americans don't need us anymore. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. But if the wealthy truly believe that their fate is not tied to the fate of the 99%, maybe they should move out.

The rest of us want to rebuild our roads, our schools and create a health care system that works for all of us. See those people filling the streets and stadiums? They would gladly pay a bit more in taxes if that meant saving the money they now spend in health insurance premiums with a Medicare For All plan. They would gladly pay a little more in taxes if that meant spending $1 trillion over the next ten years to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create 13 million jobs. They would gladly spend a little more at Starbucks and McD's if the minimum wage rose to $15 an hour. They know that when people have more money to spend, they grow the economy.

That is just some of what all those people are showing up at Bernie's rallies for. Bernie has been filling stadiums beyond capacity and has received more than 6.5 million donations to his campaign for his "radical" change program. Some people say that he's a socialist, and that socialism has never worked. Everything that we were told would happen under communism has happened to us under capitalism:

Bernie's detractors have falsely claimed that he's promoting a form of socialism that has failed before, and that will eventually become communism, so why should we try it now? Bernie has described himself as a Democratic Socialist. He's no more socialist than Denmark, Finland or Germany, or even, the United States from 1933 to 1978. Democratic Socialism is what grew the United States into a world economic power. We had a strong middle class up until around 1980 after Ronald Reagan was elected president, and then things went downhill.

We're not asking for elimination of the wealthy or to nationalize their industries as might happen under a socialist or communist government. All we are asking for is to return the middle class to primacy in America. Now is that so radical?
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