Ray Suarez Is Not To Blame or Alone
Ray Suarez, who I listened to and admired for years on NPR (and other media outlets), published a stunning, yet all too real piece in the Washington Post last week entitled Sinking Feeling: I Clung To The Middle Class As I Aged. The Pandemic Pulled Me Under.
In the piece, Suarez explains how, at the age of just over 60, he finds himself, rather unexpectedly, a gig worker, fighting for every dollar just to keep his head above water.
Now that I’m a gig worker over 60, “sick days” are simply salary-free days off. Even if work dries up, that $2,800-a-month health insurance bill still comes due on the first of the month. The electric company won’t take a podcast, a column or a television documentary as in-kind payment for kilowatt hours.
Suarez blames this on the Pandemic.
I am not so sure, though I am sure it did not help. I would rather say that the seeds of this, and Suarez is hardly alone — A recent piece on CNBC noted that one third of boomers have less than $25,000 in saving — were sown a long time ago. A recent piece in The Atlantic noted that half of Americans could not get $400 together for an emergency, and that was before the virus took hold.
The seeds of Ray Suarez’s problems, and indeed more than 66% of boomers (and everyone else by the way) were planted long before the Corona Virus appeared. And, ironically, they were planted there on purpose, by the very medium which provided Ray Suarez his livelihood — The Media.
The Media does not exist to entertain or inform you, though that might appear to be how it works. It doesn’t.
The Media are there to serve the advertisers.
They are the people who pay the media companies.
And what do they pay for?
They pay for access to you and your eyeballs. So every media company, from CBS to Facebook is focused on only one thing — how to maximize their ratings or there users to so they have the biggest audience to sell to the advertiser. In the world of Media, you the viewer are not the client — you are the product being sold to the advertiser.
And what does the advertiser do with you, once he owns you?
He spends billions of dollars a year trying to convince you to buy tons of junk that you neither want nor need. After all, if you wanted it or needed it, there would be no need to advertise it, no would there? No one advertises love, compassion, affection, warmth and so on. These are basic human needs. Weathertek Car Floor Mats are not.
So the advertiser must endlessly convince you, brainwash you I think is a better term, to not just spend all of your hard earned income, but actually go deeper and deeper into debt (What’s In Your Wallet?) to endlessly buy piles of stuff you never really every wanted.
If you don’t think so, just go to your garage, attic, closet or probably living room and take a look around. And you have been doing this for a lifetime.
Buying crap you never actually wanted or needed or even knew you needed until you saw the endless parade of commercials on TV or online selling you nonsense hour after hour, day after day.
Here’s a fun exercise, since we are all stuck at home with time on our hands.
Open your closets and drawers and take out all of your clothing — all of it, and lay it on your bed — shoes, sneakers and all.
Now separate out the stuff you actually wear every day. Recent studies show that we wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.
So take out that 20%. Now calculate the cost of the other 80%. Multiply this by 30, for the number of years you have been doing this. Now multiply that number by 3 to calculate the aggregate amount of money you COULD have accumulated by investing that money in Apple instead of Adidas.
If you still have the stomach for it, head for your kitchen and pull out the bread maker, the ice cream maker, the juicer, and so on.
Get the idea.
You could have paid off your mortgage a long time ago and had plenty left over.
But you didn't.
No one did.
So poor Ray, and the rest of us. Had you only tucked away all that money you blew on God only knows what junk, and put it in an investment account, you would not have to worry about how you are going to live for the next 30 odd years.
It’s not your fault.
You, like everyone else, were brainwashed by a media that we spend (get this) an average of 8 hours a day, every day, staring at.
It’s not your fault and you are not alone.
You can read more about this in my new book Don’t Watch This! How The Media Are Destroying Your Life.