How did we allow things to get to this point?
The imposition of taxes or tariffs goes way back to ancient Greece and Egypt--though they usually only applied to items like cooking oil or special wartime expenses. The Romans expanded the collection of a percentage of (some) people's earnings to (also) support the military, through various sales, inheritance and even slave taxes. Many of you may recall the stories of census takers... This practice expanded into what is now Europe and the British Isles, with land and property being added to the list. Though, it's important to note that, in Feudal societies, the vast majority of people did not own any land or property.
Most of you are also aware that the U.S. was basically founded by a revolution against taxation by England; and subsequently, the new nation had no (Federal) Income Tax until the 1930s. Though there was a brief period of personal taxation during the Civil War, which was later repealed. It wasn't until well into the 20th Century that the government and businesses began to steadily take more and more money away from the American people.
Initially taxes and fees were only an annual thing, and the percentages where quite low for the average working person. Plus, many local taxes also included things like city trash collection, water and sewer service. In fact, after World War II, a person with a decent job, could earn enough (and keep enough) to support a family, have a small house, and even buy a car. Back then the cost of college, medical care, heat and electricity were minimal; and most people were still able to save enough in the bank to go on a summer vacation and even have a little money left over earning interest for their future. What payments there were, were usually annual or quarterly, except for things like mortgage or car payments.
Then came the collapse of the savings and loans, the end of compounding interest (when your savings grew each year), higher insurance rates, private utility bills, cable TV bills, phone bills, school board taxes, and the introduction of "revolving credit" for the common man, or what we now refer to as credit cards.
The prices of everything seemed to be rising, but the wages for the average worker were remaining stagnant. Each year there were new "must have" things, and the only way to get those things was to get deeper in debt.
Which brings us to the present day... The average person -- actually the majority of people in the U.S. -- has to spend more than they earn just to keep a roof over their head, the lights and heat on, food on the table, get to and from work, and have the basic necessities of life like clothing, appliances, phone, internet and TV. --We've become wage-slaves with monthly bills that keep rising all of the time.
Meanwhile, those who live off of our high taxes and high monthly payments, make millions -- even billions -- on the stock market, and other "exotic" investments that the average working taxpayer has no ability to participate in. This current system has created a growing gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" that is shameful in modern times, and in a so-called civilized nation.
So where do we go from here? All I can tell you, from my personal situation, is that I don't know how much longer the status quo can continue. I find myself falling a little behind each month. I've had to cut back on everything, while at the same time, still juggling bills, and paying just the past due amounts to keep things turned on. How long we can all do this, isn't going to be very long. And, as you know, along with that uncertainty also comes stress; and we all know how harmful stress is to one's health.
We've become commodities and consumers of other commodities. They get as much labor and money out of us as they can, and then they discard us. And those without family to help out, become homeless, ill and die.
Is there any hope? Well, you should always have hope; but that's hard when you're just trying to keep your head above water.
All I can say is that, if you're one of us, hang in there. Go bankrupt if you can. Grow veggies in your yard if you have one. Try to reduce your monthly bills to a bare minimum. And try to reach out to other people in the same situation to find cooperative ways to survive.
I don't see the situation improving any time soon. All you have to do is turn on the TV to see that those who are doing fine are oblivious to how bad it is for the rest of us. I honestly believe that most people who are wealthy don't even know that tens of millions of people are struggling. And part of the reason for this is, that so many people who are struggling, keep getting deeper in debt to keep up the illusion that they are doing fine; when in reality, they're only a couple of paychecks away from poverty and even homelessness.
Here's a link to a little holiday video that expounds on this. Sorry to be a downer.
A different kind of Christmas carol... https://youtu.be/AQ8bioRr3vc
For more on this and other 21st Century realities, read my latest book, My Life is a Surrealistic Nightmare, available on Amazon in paperback and digital form on the iBook store, and in rough form on Kindle.