It is the season of goodwill, good cheer, and time to show that extra kindness and charity to your neighbors, friends and family. It is also the time of the year when we will contribute to the profitability of the retailers and merchants of commercialism. We are only too happy to oblige and pack under the Xmas trees with all the latest gadgets, and gizmos; max out the credit cards and raid the savings accounts for another year.
This tradition started, no doubt, with the Three Wise Men showing up in Bethlehem with gold, frankincense and myrrh for baby Jesus, obviously, precious gems and spices were very cheap and easy to obtain in the year of our Lord. We never found out what happen to all the gold, however, Jesus was not materialistic and lived a life of poverty.
I am not suggesting we live a life according to Jesus, because our economic and political circumstances are entirely different in these modern times. We could not anyway, in our wildest imagination. Today, in this technological society, we can argue that the world is a better place due to advances in science, healthcare, engineering and the internet. People are living longer and have a better quality of life; they traveled extensively and free to live wherever they desire. Despite these achievements, dire economic hardships still preoccupy most of the masses.
The politicians and the dubious so called ‘job creators’ have a joint interest to keep wages low, and to work in concert to support that the wealth flows to the top 1%; the politicians to boost their re-election bid and the rich to control the politicians. It is an economic fact, that when the middle class and those on the lower socio-economic ladder have more money to spend, the economy thrives. Raising the minimum wage to at least $15 would be a win-win for businesses and government. People would have a lot more to spend so that businesses would have a greater pool of consumers; and the government would spend less to subsidize food stamps, healthcare and other services for those below the poverty line. The CEOs and Directors of these companies could demand less in their excessive compensation, which they could not spend in their lifetime.
Likewise, the Social Security crisis could easily be fixed by increasing the withholding wage base limit of $118,500, that is, the maximum wage that is subject to tax. Increasing this threshold would make the fund solvent for many more years. You would think that these fixes are a no-brainer, but politics and common sense are not interchangeable.
Looking back at 2015, we can deliberate over the resolutions we made at the start of the year. Most worthwhile goals certainly, but many of us have come up a little short. Too much sweet potato pie and turkey at Thanksgiving have blown up the diet regimen and the weight you promise to shed is now double. Your plans to seek a ‘significant other’, after years of being alone, but with careful selection and vetting, has not happened yet. You contemplate turning gay to increase your chances of finding a partner. Women are in a more desperate predicament, the demographics does not support finding an eligible partner; with most men, either incarcerated, unemployable or married, chances are slim and none. Some have found solace in the church, and an awkward, uncomfortable liaison with the charismatic pastor of the church, and an ‘undying love’, ‘tis so sweet to trust in Jesus’. Congratulations to you with a committed, and dedicated loved ones, you are more fortunate that you will ever know.
Maybe, that dream job you qualify for is never going to materialize, passed up again for the new whiz kid just out of an Ivy League school, or the hussy that seems to bend over backwards to please all her superiors or the brown noser with his head up the bosses’ ass. You conclude that some jobs are not worth the aggravation or the frustration. Take one look at Barack Obama; once debonair and confident, is now a graying, beaten man. On the other hand, Michelle seem to blossom day after day. Behind every beautiful woman is a hard-working man.
The good news you are about to retire and quite happy to do so. You have accumulated the $1.3million minimum, needed to live comfortable. Have a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!