Work The Good Work


Working a job is something we all do.  We do it so that we can enjoy the other 96-128 hours in the week.  Recently, I wrote some thoughts I had about the Occupy movement and how we only have to blame ourselves as a collective for the problems we are in now.  Some people were very agreeable to my stance and some were not.  Today I would like to refute the people who do not agree with me.

First and foremost, I am not saying there are zero issues in America.  From top to bottom we have serious issues.  But to me, personally, the biggest issue we have is a workforce and a populace that wants something for nothing.

In my earlier editorial, I stated that in the week I wrote it, there were nearly 7,000 jobs available in Des Moines and central Iowa.  I did not count this week, but I know it is nearly the same, if not larger.  I have not figured out what the average pay for these 7,000 jobs is, but I know that the average salary in my home state of Iowa is $38,084.  A state like California is at $42,578.  Idaho has the lowest at $31,986.  The national average is just under $40K.  (  That’s a decent take around the nation.  According to, the 2011 poverty line is $22,350 for 2011, with roughly 43 million Americans at or below the poverty line.

To tie this back into the Occupy movement, it seems to me they are most upset with people making billions and companies making billions and CEOs grabbing millions while people are relegated to making $20-40K in the streets.  But I don’t think that’s that bad of a salary to make.  Here’s my reason for this, in as few words as possible.

As I said in my earlier column, America has an epidemic of entitlement.  Everyone wants something for nothing.  Poor people want the government to take care of them.  Other people want the large corporations to have to spread their wealth.  But no one ever talks about the irresponsibility of the average American.  And you won’t see any news stories holding the average American accountable for their own issues.

Let’s look at the housing market.  According to several news sites, there is anywhere from 65,000 – 150,000 foreclosures per month.  The number is much smaller in places like Des Moines and much higher in places like Miami.  Undoubtedly, mortgage lenders pulled some pretty wacky things trying to get everyone into a house in the lending craze of the early 2000s.  I know in some instances banks and lenders and realtors pulled some really insanely crooked deals.  But for the most part, I blame the person borrowing the money for not knowing and understanding the terms.  I myself bought too much house, and it has been a battle to make it work, but we made it work.  And I only blame myself for getting into the mess.  We took a 30 year ARM with a 10 year balloon payment in which we only had to pay interest the first 10 years.  That’s a hugely stupid mistake but it was our mistake and when we realized how foolish it was we refinanced.  No one should feel sorry for people who were buying homes with ARMs and weird lending terms.  If these people needed such crazy things to get the keys to a house, maybe they were shooting too high.

Now, the bottom is falling out on a lot of these homes, and people are crying out that they need help and it’s all Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac’s fault.  Well, last I knew, the borrower still had to sign the contract.  No one put a gun to their head to buy it.

So if people are paying too much for houses, what else are they paying too much for?

Let’s look at television sales.  According to, in 2010 alone there were over 171 million LCD televisions sold.  That’s an obscene amount of TVs.  I know this is subjective, but I want to know how many people who are complaining about not having money and their jobs are screwing them have a 42″ LCD TV.


So I wrote the first part of that about a week ago, and I couldn’t figure out how to tie it together.  Then I realized, I just don’t care any more.  There isn’t anything I say on here that is going to change anyone’s mind.  If people want to protest because they have a legitimate gripe that’s awesome.  If they want to protest because they want a hand out and want the to government to hold their hand that’s awesome too because while they are off setting up tents in parks like a bunch of bums, I’m out taking their paycheck.  The end result is going to be the same unless we get people in office who aren’t assholes.  The end result is going to be the same unless we hold people to higher standard.  And even if we hold people to a higher standard and vote new blood into congress and try to make change, the lasting lesson from all of this is that we need to watch out for #1.  The beautiful thing living in America affords its citizenry is that we are free to choose.  We can blow a whole paycheck at the casino or we can save it for retirement.  We can have a shit load of neat gadgets and drive a crappy car.  We can buy too much house or we can live in a modest apartment.  It’s up to you.  I just challenge people to think their choices through a little more.  Use a little foresight.

~ by maxaverage on November 12, 2011.

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