|I can't begin to estimate how many of my fellow co workers need this solution to unexpected expenses--and we take care of the least of the least.|
50% of Americans Couldn't Come Up with $2,000Nearly half of Americans are living in a state of "financial fragility," a new paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals. To determine this statistic, researchers from the George Washington School of Business, Princeton University, and Harvard Business School asked survey participants whether they would be able to come up with $2,000 for an "unexpected expense in the next month." 22.2 percent predicted they would be "probably unable" and 27.9 percent said they'd certainly be unable to foot the unplanned bill. The hypothetical cost "reflects the order of magnitude of the cost of an unanticipated major car repair, a large co-payment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair." But, it was the participants' method of coping that really determined their fragility:
Taken together with those who would pawn their possessions, sell their home, or take out a payday loan, 25.7% of respondents who were asked about coping methods (equal to 18.6% of all respondents) would come up with the funds for an emergency by resorting to what might be seen as extreme measures,” the authors write. “Along with the 27.9% of respondents who report that they could certainly not cope with an emergency, this suggests that approximately 46.5% of all respondents are living very close to the financial edge.
The first thing one has to take into consideration with these statistics is they do not reflect how many of these respondents were heads of households. If you add in dependents, this figure is way beyond 50% of the American population. This is the single most illustrative, if devastating, statistic I have seen yet which adequately describes the true economic situation for the average person in the United States. There are a whole bunch of well educated folks in this number. The very kind of folks who are routinely called 'liberal elitists'. There are also a whole bunch of people who call those folks 'liberal elitists' who are in the same sinking boat. It's time they all got together and realized they share the same boat.
As far as American Catholicism goes, it's time laity realized way too many of our bishops don't get any of this because they don't spend near enough time with the folks in the pew who can't come up with $2000 for a medical co payment--much less the same amount for the latest cathedral building project. I understand it's way more fun to play with the people who can pay for your latest Cathedral project, but a bishop's mandate is to serve the people who can't make the medical co payment. When bishops get in bed with Ayn Rand inspired economic 'morality' they are not walking the same walk their original Apostolic models walked. They can keep telling us they are, but we know better. In case bishops haven't noticed, laity can read The Acts of the Apostles as well as they can.
Between what Bishop Finn has just admitted too, on top of what Cardinal Rigali has admitted too, added to what Archbishop Dolan has written Congressman Ryan, I have completely lost any faith in the body politic of American bishops to ever act like their Apostolic predecessors. The USCCB can no longer expect to cover all their other indiscretions with the abortion diaper. It just ain't gonna stretch. The stench is too strong. I hope and pray 2012 is the last election Americans have to put up with the leadership of the Republican Catholic church and their self serving sucking up to the totally unrepresentative top 2%.