It is not surprising that this entry is a day late. I frankly did not want to write about it. It is a triggering topic for me. I don’t want to talk about it. Ironically, this is one of the topics that people must talk about the most. Class is the pink elephant in the living room. Everyone sees that it is there but nobody want to acknowledge that it is there. Why does nobody want to talk about it?
I think it is because it makes us vulnerable if we are on the lower end of the spectrum and it makes people feel guilty/privileged who are on the high end of the spectrum. I am on the low end of the spectrum. I am working-class and have been my whole life. Money has always been an issue for me and my family. Right now I am broke as a joke. This often happens when I am at the end of my pay period. I literally can’t wait to get paid again. Living from paycheck to paycheck is exhausting, depleting and anxiety-producing.
I am beset by credit card, student loan and medical debt. In order to complete a bachelor degree, two master’s degree and a doctorate, I had to go into pretty severe debt. Remember, when you are in school you are not only not bringing in any income, but you are paying out huge sums for tuition and living expenses. I finished my Ph.D. degree in 2009. Due to a low income, I have been able to pay very little of that down. Thus the interest has ballooned and I owe more than ever.
This is a terrible trap and it not the fault of the student loan borrowers. It is the fault of a rigged system that is a virulent form of vulture capitalism. One of the reasons I proudly supported Dr. jill Stein for presenident in 2016 was because she was the only candidate who supported the abolishment of student loan debt. It needs to be cancelled. The economy is struggling as a result. People can’t buy houses, they can’t buy cars, they are saddled by this horrible debt.
Debt feel like an awful weight. I will never be able to pay off this student loan debt, that reaches to close to 200,000. It is anxiety-producing because they can garnish our paychecks, take our tax refunds and even take away our social security payments. They have the power to financally ruin someone. All so that someone can afford to attend school. As a culture, we should be encouraring people to go to school and further their education. Education should be free from K-Ph.D., with people allowed to study for as many degrees as they please. That would take care of student loan debt, or people would take them out only for living expenses rather than tutiton, at the very least.
Credit cards are a whole other horrendous issue. I can’t believe I allowed myself to get “sucked” in by them again. This is the second time it has happened in my life. I am not surprised because I tend towards compulsive spending. My life is filled with stress and depression so I buy things as a way to feel better. They are another totally unfair system that steals money away from people through exorbinant interest and unending fees of various sorts.
Medical debt is another outrage. As Bernie Sanders is prone to point out: ALL medical care should be free. We are the only industrialized country in which that is not the case. Despite having insurance, there is always co-pays and leftover debt that insurance will not cover. It is exhausting and I am tried of dealing with it. In the meantime I will never be able to afford buying my own place, never be able to afford going on vacations to places like Europe, and never be able to have a nest egg to have a simple sense of economic security.
Class affects everything. It is hard not to resent those in the upper brackets who don’t have to constantly worry about feeding themselves, clothing themselves, having comfortable shelter or adequate medical care. Utilities keep going through the roof and add to the monthly expenses. I am not optimistic about the future of my debt and of ever leaving my current class. In fact, I am not optimistic about the future of capitalism as the gap between the rich and poor keeps growing exponentially.
I come froma rual, working-class family. I was a first-generation college student and attended an elite private school on loans, scholarships and work-study. As is the case nationally and has been shown through empirical evidence, it is very hard for a person to escpae their class of origin. Although American loves its mythologies of the American dream, meritocracy, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and rags to riches, these are all lies and false narratives. The VAST majority of people will never move beyond the class status of their parents. This has certainly been true for my siblings and I.
Classism is the discrimination that poor and working-class people face. It is yet another virulent form of discrimination that is toxic and corrosive. I have faced classism and will talk more about that in a future entry. For the time being, I will end with the assertion that capitalism is a system whose very basis is brutality and oppression. I welcome class warfare. We need it and we deserve it.