The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Get More $1s in the Hands of Those With Little

On January 21st, 2014, posted in: Uncategorized by

I get upset when I read of the continued demise and struggles of those who are, or those who flirt with the less than flattering moniker of “poor.” If you haven’t been keeping score, the numbers in the lower economic strata appear to be growing.

The “hour glass” that is our population is becoming very narrow in the middle and becoming quite large in the bottom half. The bifurcation of American households is highly visible to anyone paying attention. Yes, some of the middle class are moving up, but the count of those moving down is ugly. Much like the sands of the hour glass move downward over time, so has the standard of living for way too many. Yes, America’s collective “Days of Our Lives” are getting harder for way too many.

There was an article two Fridays ago in the Wall Street Journal that had the following headline: “Last Cent: Dollar Store Is Getting Too Expensive.” OMG. This is very disturbing. Maybe not for you, but for many, $1 is too expensive. Rather redefines the adage “making ends meet.” Think about that for a second – to purchase something that costs $1 is a considered decision. Considered decisions are usually reserved for expensive travel, large item purchases, changing daycare centers, bronze, silver, gold affordable health care and the like – not buying something for a $1.

But wait a second, if you don’t have but a few $1s shoved in your wallet, then what to spend $1 on becomes extremely important. This is 2014, in the most economically vibrant county in the world, what the heck is going on?

What happened to the creation of job opportunities so that people could better themselves? The last time we were able to quell the concern for inequality in economic strata was during President Clinton’s second term. Unemployment reached 3.9%, and because we had jobs we halted (temporarily) the pressures on the “poor.”

The creation of sound jobs by all sectors of business including construction, industrial, manufacturing and the service sector would be good. Businesses need incentives to grow their business and create jobs – not governmental uncertainty. Tepid job growth as evidenced by recent employment numbers coupled with relatively stagnant wages is the result of not helping the small businesses spur growth in this economy.

Washington DC’s decision to raise our payroll taxes erodes the net purchasing power of consumers at all levels, but proportionately this increase has had a “sledge hammer” effect on those with the least. And the cut back of food stamp assistance was a right hook to the jaw for many on the low-end of the economic spectrum as well.

Word is that the outlook for the economy is starting to brighten. Is that long awaited brightening for everyone or is there still a segment stuck in the shadows? Sadly, there are way too many that remain in the darkness of a clunky recovery. Those who don’t worry about $1 are beginning to lengthen the distance between themselves and those on the lower end of the spectrum.

There is only one way to make spending $1 less of a difficult proposition. Get more $1s in the hands of those with little. Good jobs offered by thriving businesses is a surefire way to increase the dollar count. Hey DC, help businesses to grow, that would help a lot.

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