A couple of weeks ago a very interesting report floated quickly through the news. What was even more interesting was the sheer lack of interest the American public, and the media displayed in the report. The report said the following: That the American Middle Class had slipped from the # 1 position of being the richest middle class in the world to #2.
The thing is the lack of surprise was not a surprise. We already had that feeling. We’re not stupid. We knew that things weren’t going well for the American Middle Class for quite a while. And some of the indicators that we were watching are listed below.
- Stagnant wages-Most of us are getting small raises. However, if inflation is on average around 4% and the average raise is between 2-3% we aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of living.
- Rising cost of higher education-College is now hitting astronomical numbers.
- Ridiculously low savings rates-we were hitting negative numbers. How is that even possible?
- Our health is bad-I am convinced that health is a visual illustration of how we feel about ourselves. Americans are the fattest people in the world and don’t give me the “we don’t know why this is.” For the majority of us who don’t have a gland problem, it’s because we’re eating too much of the delicious bad food that we have everywhere in America.
- Violence-We have never been known for our self-restraint when it comes to violence/war/etc. While the numbers of violent acts are going down, the acts that are happening are truly disturbing, unacceptable and disturbing.
- Accessibility to Real Estate-There are large numbers of Americans who aren’t able to purchase real estate. That is a huge wealth building tool that has helped to Canadians rise to #1.
I could list a number of other things but I want to get to the point of this post. Falling to number two is a BLESSING! Because finally, finally, we have a reason to be “hungry” about again.
I have a theory about being #1, here it goes:
- When you first become #1 there’s a glow. Like nothing can stop you.
- Imagine you’re running and you look behind you and no one is there. NO ONE is behind you. You’re a bad ass.
- You cruise. Because obviously no one can catch you.
- You’re forget to look behind you not realizing that the other people behind you are starting to catch up.
- You lose “the hunger.” Because obviously no one can catch up to you.
- You stumble and someone who has been working hard and preparing for the opening passes you by. They had the hunger to beat you and capitalized on your fall.
Here is my theory about being #2, here it goes:
- You become obsessed with beating the person that is number one.
- You’re hungry, all you can think about is preparing , focusing and being on task. The day that an opening comes to pass them by-and it will, you’ll be ready.
- You look for #1 person’s weaknesses. Surely they have one? Even Usan Bolt has a weakness (he likes to party and loses focus during off years)
- You find #1’s weaknesses and capitalize on them.
- You’re getting closer
- You finally win. You’re now #1. Bye, bye suckers!
In the race to power and wealth the above scenario illustrates the race to becoming #1 in the wealth stakes. America lost its hunger. We coasted, got fat, and lazy. We thought that our way to being number 1 was the only way. When, if fact, there are tons of ways to get to the top. It’s interesting to me that Canada has the following:
- Socialized health care-people are actually able to take care of their number one asset. Their health. It’s not a perfect system, but people aren’t going bankrupt because they got sick.
- Lower rates of crime-It’s important to note that they do have a much smaller overall population. However, the crime rates do seem to be much lower than the U.S. if you were to make adjustments for population size.
- Tons of natural resources-Oil, land, etc. Resources=Money. And, they are able to capitalize on the resources to encourage economic growth.
- Reasonably priced higher education-My understanding is that some universities have gotten a bit more expensive, but as a whole university costs are pretty manageable.
America finally has an opportunity to focus on the fact that times have changed. We already have the best military in the world. But, why does that leave me cold? I want the U.S. to take time to look deep inside and think about what we really would like our corner of the world to look like. I’m starting to see some of this starting to happen.
- In recent polls Americans have expressed a disinterest in getting involved in overseas conflicts/issues. We seem to be turning inward. This is huge on a geopolitical level.
- The Made in the U.S.A. movement has really gained some steam. People are finally understanding the power of their dollars. Every time we spend money on items made outside of the U.S. we endanger jobs.
- People are becoming outraged at the cost of higher education. I’m hoping we’ll start admitting that not everyone needs to go to college
- We are taping into our own natural resources to wean ourselves off of other countries resources. Regardless of how you feel about fracking, we are now producing more oil than any other country in the world. This could have a long-term effect on American foreign gas dependence.*Since I wrote this post, Saudi Arabia has moved to undercut the profits being earned by U.S. oil interests, lowering fuel costs and earnings for American fuel companies.
- The Affordable Health Medical Care act was passed. Regardless of how you feel about this law. For many people it’s a game changer because they will have access to health insurance and won’t need to continue working jobs that they don’t love. It will also encourage entrepreneurship as is evidenced by the number of people that I know who have quit their office jobs and started working for themselves.
At the end of the day, I’m hoping that being #2 in Middle Class rankings awakens the competitive spirit. I’m already getting focused and driven.