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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:10 PM
Original message
DU: How to really live well in America
Let's counter Forbes definition of what it means to live well in America.

They define "living well" as-

"We are not talking about great riches; there are millions of Americans who work hard to be able to afford the best for their families... Their goals are more grounded: a good education for their children, a nice house, a weekend place, the occasional trip, a night out once a week and a little money in the bank."

How does DU define "living well?"
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. having enough to eat, clothes on your back,
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:14 PM by ulysses
a roof over your head, and your health. And people who love you. And no debt.

And a good education.
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. "To crush your enemies,
see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

Oh wait, what was the question?
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. LOL!
:D
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smiley_glad_hands Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. No Mercy. eom
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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Having enough to eat, housing education and healthcare for your
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:14 PM by ArkDem
whole family regardless of your employment status.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
4. taking care of need, some wants without financial stress
security, stability would ne nice.
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Security and stability are impossible, aren't they?
In a dynamic world, isn't security and stability only an illusion? I used to believe in this, but I find that the more money I save...I never get any closer to feeling secure. I think its ok because it keeps us on our toes.
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lynettebro440 Donating Member (950 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. Living in a world
where the name Bush doesn't come up and has never been heard of. That would be living well to me.
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dogday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. Having enough to pay your bills and to
be able to get a little extra stuff and save a few bucks.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. The average standard of living of a unionized mfg worker in the 1960s
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:22 PM by DBoon
Adjusted upwards for economic growth over the last 40 years.

Living well is how we should live if the share of our national income that went to the working class remained as it was then.

The theft of worker's income since the reagan years has lead to a serious lowering of expectations.

30 more years of republican rule and people will define "living well" as having running water.
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VelmaD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
10. " a weekend place"?
Who the hell has a weekend place? That seems a bit beyond merely "living well" to me. :eyes:
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electron_blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. LOL - my thoughts exactly
living rich is more like it
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ellenfl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #19
41. me, too. eom
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frictionlessO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
37. I know of several people looking for just a weekday place...
that isn't couch surfing a friends apartment anyway.

Weekend places = rich and well out of bounds of the average American.

Sort of makes Forbes appear... errmmm out of touch and uppity to the point of being typical boorish rich jerkwads that care more about $125,000 cabin than the homeless shelter downtown.
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smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. Oh, I don't know--
Our neighbor has a weekend place, and he's neither rich nor a jerkwad. This is Wisconsin, though, mind you, and he bought the place twenty years ago for roughly the price of a happy meal.
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frictionlessO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #44
49. Oops my bad, I was being predisposed to large Metro areas....
I mean we have a weekend place I guess when I think about it, its just a tent campground we got to but yep I think I over reacted a wee bit on this.

:blush:
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enid602 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
11. live long
Living long enough to see all repugna-con bastard evildoers tried and sentenced!
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
12. I'll respond to my own post
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:28 PM by info being
- A job that pays well, enables us to learn skills, and perform a positive role for society,
- Free access to an educational system that teaches critical thinking vs. mindless indoctrination,
- Free access to a healthcare system that would actually promote wellness not just push drugs,
- Personal freedom: ensuring that the government only interferes with your rights when you are engaged in activities that harm others.
- A safe and healthy food supply
- Our tax payments woulc not be used for aggressive wars to make the rich richer, but to provide opportunity for all and a safety cushion for those who need it.
- Minimal pollution



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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #12
32. "marxist" ideals -- i suppose you want a 40-hour work week too!
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 02:16 PM by nashville_brook
kidding aside... when the conservatives attack us for being socialist -- a designation that means completely NOTHING to most people, what they speak of is your AUDACITY to expect FREE this and FREE that. FREE education? give them a break! FREE healthcare! them's fighting words.

fact is, the only person who ever put this issues on the table in terms of "What Is A Good Life" is old karl, himself.

what they fear is a populace that knows they are means of production. that their LABOR is theirs and theirs alone. the capitalist only owns the machines, resources. if there is to be AN ECONOMY there must be laborers to put the "wheel" in motion. ergo -- we are real, important means for their ascendance to demi-godhood (in their weekend retreats in the Maldives). if it weren't for us being pliant little worker bees, they would have no weekend retreats, no swiss bank accounts, no power at all whatsoever.
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hippiegranny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
13. living well is relative, obviously

I think most of us would count things like love, family, friends, good health and having "enough" as what is most important. I am lucky to have all of those. I am happy. But what would make me completely happy again is if I could see us as a society moving towards a decent government, becuase I know that would enable more people to have what I have.
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pilgrimsoul Donating Member (266 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
14. To live as our founding fathers intended
free from the tyranny and corruption that they fought so hard to throw off. To have the basic necessities and a little bit extra for a rainy day, to be at peace knowing that our fellow citizens will not go homeless or hungry, to sleep well knowing that our *legitimately* elected government truly represents us and our democratic values -- values like equality for ALL, affordable health care for ALL, liberty and justice for ALL.

To be honest, I would be happy with the achievement of a lasting peace. May this war end and the families suffering because of it be reunited safely, and may those who have lost loved ones be comforted somehow. And may whatever spiritual entity you feel connected with forgive us all.
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sintax Donating Member (891 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
15. A right livelihood
Work for meaning not for money

Healthy communities with NO COMPULSORY SCHOOLING

Healthy watersheds

Zero Growth Economics

True diversity, meaning elderly, young, black-yellow-white co-exist with differences and friction but still co-exist.

Walking-bicycling as primary sources of transportation

Home-made pizza YUM!

Gardens all around and folks chipping in and celebrating the harvest

Rituals

Children encouraged in arts more rather than production-consumption

ETC....
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I'll move to your neighborhood
That sounds perfect.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #15
34. interesting... many people cite "education," you cite "no compulsary
schooling." in all caps. this is a big issue for you, no doubt. how do you mean this? i'm interested in learning more b/c your "good life" is so similar to mine except i would say Zero Point Energy :)

i especially think you have a tiger by the tail with "true diversity" b/c i think "factionalism" as talked about in the Federalist Papers is why we are in the sad state we are in politically -- AND why so many families suffer individually. kids have to move away to find work. then have no grandparents to help raise their kids. grandparents have no one to help them as their health fails. we all die alienated and broke. we have to knit this back together, and i think the neighborhood unit is totally the place to start. neighborhood gardens. greenways and bike paths. people who know where THEIR water comes from and how precious it is. etc...

and home-made pizza... TOTALLY!
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
17. Recommended - This is a great discussion
"Weekend place"? That's not in my list.

Personal freedom ranks very high along with being able to afford being retired and not needing to work part time to live.
Decent health insurance.
Peace of mind also ranks high. I mean not being at war like we are. Having an administration in place that allows me to exhale in peace. A state of mind where I don't wake up in the morning wondering what the f is next.
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. We just want to be decent, not obscene. Right?
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:48 PM by info being
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #20
40. You got it!
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
18. Living well includes appreciation of your family, friends, neighbors,...
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:45 PM by Just Me
,...community and humanity; and contributing to their well-being even though you don't make much money or possess many things.

I add: living well includes being the best "Just Me".
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Yes, living authentically. Being who you are. Love.
What more do we really need?
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
22. living well is having enough education not to need Forbes to tell you what
living well is.
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
45. Best response yet IMHO
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
23. "Their goals are more grounded." LMAO
According to the article, the fictional family has FINANCED two cars, two homes, and has NO SAVINGS.

I'd hardly consider no investment or savings, "grounded."
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #23
35. so, for Forbes, the Good Life is one of constant economic fear
everything mortgaged to the hilt.

what a transparent piece of propaganda!
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MadJohnShaft Donating Member (267 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
24. Wage suppression?
Kinda sounds like they want the Sheep to keep quiet and keep working.
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skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
25. Living well = not having fear for the future (e.g. your job)

Regardless of whether you rent or own, regardless of the number of rugrats, this is well off to me:

Having enough in the bank to survive comfortably 5 years of corporate exile if you have to blow the whistle on your company and put your boss in jail.

In other words, I value the dignity to be able to do what is right without trepedation much more highly than whether my abode is humble, or a bit more spiffy.


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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
27. Yes, I laughed when I read that....
I have about 150-200 tax clients from suburban areas all over Ohio. And you now what, none of them have a second house, all are struggling to get colege money together and they all have steady upper middle class jobs..

What the Fuck America are they talking about.......

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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
28. To live free of financial terror -- the omnipresent nagging fear of...
being forced into bankruptcy or homelessness by some unforeseen curtailment of income or expensive disaster.

To work at a job in which one is skilled, adequately compensated and psychologically fulfilled.

To live in affordable housing in which one is not viciously harassed merely for being poor -- housing in which one is neither oppressed by quarterly inspections (searches) of one's premises nor afflicted by permanent prohibitions against keeping dogs.

To be the citizen of a nation that is not so malevolently hateful toward lower-income peoples it maliciously denies us not only education and adequately paid employment but even the most basic essential of adequate health care.

Perhaps most of all -- because it includes all that I have listed above -- to live in genuine community rather than what Big Business has deliberately made of America: a ghetto of cutthroat strangers all ready to do murder over the merest threat to their small shrinking handfuls of a bounty that only a generation ago seemed limitless.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. bingo!
"to live in genuine community rather than what Big Business has deliberately made of America: a ghetto of cutthroat strangers all ready to do murder over the merest threat to their small shrinking handfuls of a bounty that only a generation ago seemed limitless."

this would put Forbes out of business
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indigo32 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. Damn well said
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dean_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
29. Do we mean living "well", or just living well?
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:58 PM by dean_dem
I mean having enough to eat and keep the lights on and the cars running is living well. But Forbes was looking at people in the more upper-middle class category. Even still, it seems their numbers are inflated.

In my area, living well by that standard would probably entail being able to afford a $500,000 house in the suburbs, a couple of new cars in the driveway (they don't have to be Lexus's), and enough put away to take a vacation maybe once a year. Looking at Forbes' numbers, you don't need an income of $200,000 a year to do that where I live.

But I think it was already alluded to in this thread that money won't buy everything you need to live "well."
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
30. to be free from healthcare cartels; workplace feudalism; thought police
"how are we to live" is a perennial question of philosophy.

you can take a "marxist" approach as above. that's basically an economic critique.
you can take the "existentialist" approach -- which won't put food on the table, but fills the soul (the good life is radical freedom).
you can take the "platonic" approach -- the "examined" life is the only one worth living
you can take the "positivist" approach -- which the best i've been able to tell has something to do with being the biggest ass in the class.

the Forbes approach is nothing more than '"consumerist" bullshit.

a weekend place? give me a freaking break?

how about a life of service? a life of research and discovery? a life of meaning? art? science? health? vitality? social networks? being a good and decent person?

Forbes would rather you didn't turn those rocks over -- they might take away from your trips to the mall -- or the weekend place.
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kick-ass-bob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
31. not living paycheck to paycheck.
that is stressful.
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evolved Anarchopunk Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
33. Smoke Weed Every Day.
Thanks Dre for Chronic 2K1 !! Now i can find even more joy in the quietest most peaceful night, the constant sight of a neurotic world passing by me...
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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
36. having a house in a crimeless neighborhood...
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 02:42 PM by LSK
A used car that is reliable.

Money to eat out at lunch a few times a week.

A nice sunday drive once in a while.

Extra money to buy a DVD once in a while.

Having healthcare and a 401k plan at work.
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More Than A Feeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
39. Understanding that one person can make a lot of difference
even when the whole system is stacked against them.

Recognizing that one's opinion and cultural biases are not absolute, and therefore tolerance is required.

Recognizing the existence of other people and the effects of our choices upon them.

Acting upon the above ideals in a moral and consistent way.

Everything else is temporary circumstance.

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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #39
48. an existentialist!
i really wondered, when i put "existentialist" in my list (above) if there were any left in the world. but when you think about it, it shouldn't be an uncommon category. it's actually very american. very hollywood in the sense that it's part of our mythology of freedom.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
43. not having to sell my possessions each month
in order to buy food
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
46. We are actually a diverse crowd
Notice how every one of these visions is completely different. This articulates the importance of allowing each individual to define their life. I wonder why we're all waiting for the government and society to reflect our dreams, when are dreams are individual.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-30-05 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #46
52. i also noticed the diff in response -- and that made me realize
that the question itself is a positive exercise. this isn't something that generated disagreement between DU'ers. nice (odd), given the sparks lately.

it shortcircuits "power-over" thinking and encourages "power-to."

this is an incomplete saturday morning thought, but using this question to craft a platform of Basic American Rights... that we have the right to a life that "good..." could/should/will include freedom from economic terror such as losing healthcare, basic education and basic workplace dignity.
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
47. Working because it feels good
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 05:25 PM by YOY
Not because you fear losing health insurance.

Not being afraid of being able to affording having a child.

Not feeling fear walking down the street.

Enough food to ward away hunger, enough education to avoid ignorance, enough health care to prevent unnecessary illness, and a little left over to have a little fun.

This is not how I'm living now.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-30-05 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #47
53. OMG -- there's something to this you guys! forbes is RIGHT -- i'm serious!
working because it feels good. this is a beautiful way to put it. unalienated labor. not to have to be a SLAVE. a wage slave.

the forbes article seeks to put a DOLLAR AMOUNT on the concept of THE GOOD LIFE.

it is a GIVEN to the "capitalist" that a decent life is measured in economic value. capitalist here refers to the collective, the corporation and association of capital as it operates in it's interests usually at the expense of citizens who grant creation of these alien, threatening groups of individuals.

we must have the RIGHT to PROTECT OURSELVES from collective, predatory interest because it is the most basic unit of being American... to pursue happiness. free of terror.

SO, why don't we use this? cut to the chase.

government exists to mediate between the real individual human against the collective "concept of a business or corporate entity." laws exist to DEFINE what a corporation does and how it may behave. we are the arbiters of this relationship. that is why we have commissions and taxes and every bit of government from municipal to federal -- to protect the citizens from being ENSLAVED. to recommend and dispense justice.

It's a BASIC UNIT OF BEING AN AMERICAN.
(end caffeinated critique)
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KatyaR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
50. Simple--
Not waking up in the middle of the night scared to death you'll lose your job and end up living in your car because you have no family and no place to land if you fall.

I've been there but I'm back on my feet now, but every day I wonder when it will happen again. If I were to get sick with a life-threatening disease, the job I have would not allow me to be out for weeks at a time. I have no spouse or other income to rely on, so I'd lose my job and then my apartment and I'd have nothing.

I'd just like to not be afraid all the time. I don't know what it would take to not feel that way.
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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
51. Just a couple of thoughts...
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 06:35 PM by mcscajun
Living Well: No Credit Card Debt, a good car that's fully paid off and still has some serious miles left in it, a home just big enough for the people living in it with a mortgage you can handle, and enough money in the bank to keep the taxman and other wolves away from the door, the doctor, dentist and health insurance paid, and some left over to either give to causes and/or do some traveling once in a while.

More importantly, TIME: time enough for ourselves, our loved ones, and the causes we support. Time enough for exercise, gardening and other hobbies. Time to read good books and pursue self-improvement. Time that, of necessity, precludes the endless striving for the Weekend place, the winter place, the Lexus or BMW or Mercedes, the twice-yearly trips abroad or to pricey, tony resorts, and the luxury items most folks don't really want, and nobody, but Nobody really needs.

Weekend place? :wtf:
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