Tag: Finance

Wealth Creates More Privilege than Race

Nate Galt | United States

Much of the current political discussion surrounds the controversial topic of privilege – many believe that the white race has more privileges than people of color do, and others believe that straight people are better off in society than homosexuals. While those categories may make one privileged at a certain place and time, there is no bigger privilege than wealth. Wealth, universally, gives someone opportunities and offers them more possibilities. If they happen to be a billionaire who is a transgender, lesbian, African-American woman, they are infinitely more privileged than a heterosexual white homeless man. The privilege of wealth trumps any other supposed notion of privilege. 

“White privilege” is a term used by those who label themselves “progressive” or as a crusader for “social justice”, to say that white people have many privileges that non-whites do not have. This phrase can also be combined with “male privilege,” “straight privilege,” or “cisgender privilege.” A popular talking point in their circles is that statistically, being white reduces your risk of being shot by a police officer and being male reduces your chances of being raped. While these statistics are certainly true, minimizing those chances does not indicate privilege. Special programs that encourage gender and racial diversity in the classroom and in the workplace have been created. One such program, Affirmative Action, decreases the chances of a white man getting accepted into college. Men are approximately three times more likely to be homeless than women are, and are at a higher risk of committing suicide. One group is not more privileged than another; each group has its own hardships.

A notable “progressive” description of white privilege appeared as a musical skit on the A.B.C. channel on Australian television. The segment depicts two people trying to cross a stream. One person, who is said to be a straight white man who speaks English and was born in a peaceful nation, waits with a woman who the writers say cannot speak English, has dark skin, and is a refugee. The segment shows the methods that each person uses to cross the rapid. The writers say that since the white man is inherently privileged because of the color of his skin, he uses teleportation to get across. The skit then shows the woman swimming across the stream and then getting sick. The lyrics of the segment say that because she is female, cannot speak English in an English-speaking country, and has brown skin, she has to swim across the stream. As a result, she catches a cold. This description of privilege could be no further from the truth. The justification for the man using teleportation is that he has certain privilege that the woman does not. Not all heterosexual white men have privileges that darker-skinned refugee women do not. The deciding factor of who has or does not have privilege is wealth and/or material possessions. LeBron James, a multimillionaire African-American legendary basketball player, has many more doors open for him than an impoverished white man. Even if James were to become transgender and subsequently come out as a homosexual, he would still have privilege that the aforementioned poor white man would not. 

Phrases such as “white privilege” are extremely divisive rhetoric.  Implying that someone is privileged because of their sex, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin will divide people into several distinct groups at odds with each other. Instead of uniting one another and saying that no matter who we are, we are fellow Americans, some keep pushing identity politics. Our country is already divided into two distinct camps as a result of the congressional duopoly of Democrats and Republicans. Dividing the United States of America any further could cause an inseparable rift. 

Political discourse must move away from “white privilege” or any other category which is not based on wealth. The wealthy, no matter their skin color or their gender, are incredibly more privileged than a poor person of any race. Every group has their hardships that society should work to fix. We, as a community, should combat these struggles together. Preaching identity politics in the name of fighting nonexistent “white privilege” will only drive us farther apart. 


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Over Three Fourths of Americans are Broke. Why?

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Last year, CareerBuilder.com released a study with shocking results. Of the several thousand American workers polled, an alarming 78% of them live paycheck to paycheck. In the same study, more than half of workers believed they would always be in debt. More than a quarter (26%) did not save a penny every month, and another 31% saved an average of $100 or less.

In a Bankrate.com study, though, Americans stated that the ideal age of retirement is a mere 61. Yet, by their own financial practices, life in retirement at this age would be a near impossibility. Why is it that Americans are broke, and unable to meet their own guidelines of success?

Worse than Broke

In many cases, this is simply due to the fact that Americans are worse than broke. In fact, 71% of them carry some form of debt. This largely plays into the fact that so many are unable to begin saving their money. But what are some of the causes of the country’s largely-unknown financial disaster?

How much Down, How much per Month?

Through the 1920s, companies in the U.S. began to offer systems of credit to use for their individual products. By 1950, Diner’s Club issued the very first universal credit card. Not long after, use of the card became widespread, and thus begun the country’s downward financial spiral.

While it is true that income levels are up dramatically from those time periods, credit has considerably dampened the gains America has made. A prime example of this is the car buying industry. Allstate.com has a program that can calculate the difference in paying with cash compared to financing. Using average values for the price of a new car, length and rate of financing, and down payment, paying cash saves $5,830.

In other words, a $36,000 new car, when financed at the average rate, really costs $41,830, an addition of one-tenth of the average American income. That’s more than a full month’s salary for the average American worker. And, when paying with cash, there is always a chance to bring the price down. Some dealers may offer a choice between zero percent APR for a time, or a rebate. In this case, paying cash for the rebate allows for a deeper discount off of an already lower price.

A Credit Card Catastrophe

As of 2018, the average American household is broke. In fact, they are actually far below it, owing a whopping $16,883 in credit card debt. Though most homes take in far more than this, the debt is perpetual. Why? Because with each passing year, that debt only continues to accumulate, with those same American households paying an additional thousand dollars in interest alone.

Ultimately, credit purchases are ways for people to buy what they otherwise could not afford. By putting off payments, these same people end up paying a lot more in interest payments, and a lot more up front, too. This is because cash is psychologically much harder to hand over. Several studies, including this 2008 paper, explain that the average person is willing to spend considerably more money on a given item when swiping plastic. After all, they can just write it off and actually pay for it later. Thus, the debt cycle continues.

Budgets: Broken Leads to Broke

As mentioned before, a majority of Americans either save nothing at all, or save very little. In many cases, this is because it is simply not a written priority. In fact, only 32% of Americans have a budget at all. Of those, a portion do not factor savings into their budgets.

A lack of a budget breeds a ‘saving last’ mentality. But when doing this, there is no guarantee that there will be any money to save at the end of the month. Instead, adopting a ‘saving first’ mentality allows people to guarantee a portion of their income will go towards savings. With this new state of mind and a properly funded budget, families can ensure that every dollar that flows in, has a clear path to flow out, whether they spend or save it.

Will the Next Generation Improve?

This lack of financial knowledge, in varying forms, is not surprising, considering most high school students do not have a personal finance requirement at all. Throughout the country, only 16.4% of students are required to take a personal finance class to graduate. And outside of the five states where it is a statewide requirement? The portion drops to a pitiful 8.6%. America’s most states, Texas, California, and Florida all have rates of an abysmal 0%.

Meanwhile, student loans are forever increasing. Since 2010, they have risen 79%. The credit industry is tightening its hold, and financial literacy is only decreasing. But this is not an unsolvable problem. America must embrace its roots and recognize that, as the saying goes, cash is king. Incomes are increasing, and it is time that the people get to see the benefits of this, rather than paying them off, month by month by month.


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Wyoming: An American Fiscal Haven

By James Sweet III | WYOMING

The recent actions of the State of Wyoming have shown that fiscal freedom is not dead in the United States. The Cowboy State’s Wyoming Legal Tender Act and Senate Bill 111 have shown that the state is dedicated to breaking the hold of the Federal Reserve and bringing greater economic freedom to the people.

The Wyoming Legal Tender Act, which was approved by the Wyoming Senate and House and made into law without the Governor’s signature, works a miracle, and removes all taxes on silver and gold. The new law also allows gold and silver specie to be used as legal tender in the state, allowing them to be used to pay off debts and taxes. The law defines gold and silver specie as “coin having gold or silver content; or Refined gold or silver bullion which is coined, stamped or imprinted with its weight and purity and valued primarily based on its metal content and not its form”.

Wyoming Senate Bill 111, if signed into law, would exempt “virtual currencies” from property taxes. The bill was passed by both the House and the Senate, although has yet to become law.

Could the Cowboy State become a bustling center for economic activity due to its new approach? It’s quite possible, but only time will tell if crypto and gold can transform the state from ranches and plains to GPU farms and businesses.