By Paul Gereffi
1/23/2018 There’s an old adage about how we perceive danger. If you put a frog into hot water, it will immediately jump out. However, if you put the frog in cool water first, then slowly turn up the heat, it won’t notice how hot it’s getting until it’s too late and could boil to death.
I don’t have many frogs on my mail route but I might like to try it with some of those pesky iguanas. I know from our recent cold snap that they sure hate cold weather. In fact, when it gets too cold they enter into a state of semi-hibernation. They remain totally motionless and inconspicuous, doing absolutely nothing, hoping no one notices them, until the danger passes. (Much like many of our supervisors when they are called to the front window to deal with irate customers. But, I digress!)
The point is that we often don’t realize negative changes in our environment until it is too late to change anything. For example, they keep telling us the economy is doing great because the stock market is up over the past 10 years. That’s great, if you own a lot of stocks. But wages have remained stagnant for many workers over the last few decades. For too many people, working two jobs has become a necessity. Often, retail employees work two part-time gigs just to cobble together enough income to make ends meet. Usually, there are no benefits like health insurance or sick leave or vacation time, things we at the Postal Service take for granted.
Further, many of us are in debt up to our eyeballs. Not just mortgage debt, but student loan debt and, worst of all, credit card debt. With interest rates for some of your favorite cards approaching 30%, this is a budget buster. So, how good is this economy for them?
Just look around at what’s happening and you might feel the water getting warmer.
Uber, Lyft, and other “ride-sharing” apps allow for people to use their personal cars as taxis. You can now give strangers a ride to the airport, a restaurant, or a night club. Places that some of these drivers probably can’t afford to go. Hopefully, that drunk you picked up at midnight won’t barf in your car!
B&B’s, or bed-and-breakfasts, allow you to rent out your house, or part of it, to others. In the old days, they called it a boarding house. In the early part of the 1900’s and around the Depression, people were forced by economic conditions to take in strangers who paid rent. Now, we’ve returned to those glory days of yester-year. These short-term rentals can turn your home into a motel. You just won’t have the blinking M-O-T-E-L sign with a couple of burnt-out letters out front.
Food delivery services allow for everyday people to supplement their income by delivering meals from restaurants all over town. Nothing like coming home from a hard day’s work and zooming around with pizza or sandwiches for people who have no problem paying a delivery fee. You pay for the gas and insurance because it’s your own car, and you don’t even need the magnetic roof sign! Hope you get a tip!
Finally, I saw an ad the other day for a car rental app. This allows you to rent out your car after work or on weekends, supposedly while you’re not using it. Are you kidding me???
Honestly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ANY of these things. It can offer some extra money to those who need it, or disposable income to others. The point is, many people ARE FORCED TO do these things because of low wages and lack of hours at their regular jobs. While employers get rich, many of their employees need to supplement their income just to pay their basic bills.
That water is starting to feel hot!
Think about it. The American dream was to have a stable job, own your own home, and buy a car, or maybe two. After a certain number of years, you could retire and enjoy all that you worked for. That is still true for most of us in the Post Office. My father was a letter carrier and raised four of us on a postal salary. He never had to do so many of the things that today’s workers are forced to do.
For too many others, economic reality forces them to supplement their income by renting rooms, delivering food, or lending others their car. What’s next? Taking in laundry? Selling Chiclets on street corners? They’re not offering good jobs anymore. Instead, it’s a mishmash of part-time work and jobs with no benefits. Further, they have duped us into thinking that this is the new normal. So, THIS is the American Dream?
Face it! You, as a worker, are simply considered a disposable asset. They wring everything they can out of you, then discard you or replace you with someone else at a moment’s notice. That, my friends, is what they call the “new economy.”
Anyone who doesn’t realize that all of this is a real step backwards in our lifestyle and society just isn’t paying attention. So, while some are preaching how they are “making America great again,” take a closer look. You just might feel some bubbles percolating around you.
NALC Branch . #2550
Fort Lauderdale. FL
NALC Branch . #2550
Fort Lauderdale. FL
Previous articles written for PostalReporter.com from Paul Gereffi
USPS, Shame on you! February 19, 2015