Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not So Poor After All

Over the years I've considered myself living in poverty. I'm simply not a part of the middle class that the politicians are always talking about. I don't know if I've made over $20,000 in a year since I've graduated back in 1992. My grandpa used to say when we were logging together that if you made $300 in a week in northwest Wisconsin you were doing pretty good. That was in the mid-nineties.

But I need to say that I don't feel like I'm living in poverty. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not thankful for my living situation. I've got three healthy kids, a house and land paid for, and a good job (I carry mail for post office part-time). Plus I have time to sit down and do this.

What's got me thinking about all of this, though, is a quote that Daniel Quinn used in an essay by Wisconsin's very own Thorstein Veblen (Once again, Kurt Vonnegut could be right. Sensible people are born and bred in the Midwest). Veblen's theory is called The Theory of Leisure Class. I'm interested in it here simply because of the name: Leisure Class. Veblen has separated out a class of people from the rest of us--or as my grandpa used to say, "us poor slobs"-- and theorized about them.

Over the years I've considered myself not a part of the Leisure Class. I consider Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet to be a part of that class, but not me. My family and I spent 5 years living in a couple of rooms, without running water, in the old farmhouse on our property for crying out loud, how could I be associated with them? But it occured to me yesterday there is a good chance that I could be a part of the leisure class that Daniel Quinn was talking about in his essay. Given there are 7 billion people in the world, and I'm part of that global community, I'd be willing to bet I'm in the top 1% of the income bracket.

Now what?

There is a lot more I'd like to say here. But right now I'm trying to get out a post a day before the daily chores need to be done. Taking care of kids, animals, firewood, and the rest of it.

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