Where I live there is almost no middle class left.
A very meagre home (duplex, patio home, town home, in the least desirable area) costs about $225,000. The soup kitchen is crowded every day. Our local food bank is lined up down the street with people who cannot make enough money to pay their bills and eat, too.
Many of these people are working poor; they are not unemployed. They often work for large corporations who pay minimum wage or only slightly better.
These same corporations make huge profit margins and are increasing these profits through their hiring policies, not to mention the global effect of their purchasing policies. That’s a whole other conversation.
Eighteen per cent of the children in British Columbia live below the poverty line. Our youth cannot stay and raise children here because they cannot afford housing or find jobs.
Ten years ago there were some cases of homelessness. Now there are tent communities.
I know personally of many skilled, capable people who have aggressively sought employment for more than two years, unsuccessfully. These citizens barely making it, struggling to keep their heads above water, are paying taxes while the richest corporations get tax breaks and rake in huge profits.
Many people I know are one to two paycheques away from losing the ability to pay their mortgages and keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables. That includes me!
Many more are counting the months that they can make it before they default on mortgages or rent because they have already lost their jobs.
I believe that unjust systems are alive and well in Canada, the U.S. and around the globe. A few (that would be the one per cent) hold way too much power in our communities and government. The majority foot the bill and struggle to do it (that would be the 99 per cent).
So I will continue to march and support the Global Occupy Movement, because in kindergarten I learned:
• Lesson 1 = Share (don’t be greedy);
• Lesson 2 = Be kind (love your fellow man and support their well-being);
• Lesson 3 = Don’t fight (when you fight, no one wins);
• Lesson 4 = Co-operate (come up with solutions and move forward for the common good);
Banking is one relevant example of being greedy and not working toward the common good. On a $225,000.00 mortgage at 5.29 per cent:
• The monthly payment is $1,240.04. Ouch!
• The first five years of payments equal $74,402.40.
• The bank will keep $56,681.59 (revenue).
• The next five-year term will start at $ 207,279.19.
On a $207,279.19 mortgage at 5.29:
• The monthly payment is $1,239. Ouch!
• Five years of payments = $74,399.40.
• The bank will keep $51,395.74 (revenue).
• The next five-year term will start at $184,275.53.
In 10 years the bank has made $108,077.33. The owner has achieved equity of $40,724.47. Ouch!!
Year 13: the first year where the principal exceeds the interest.
Year 18: the first time the amount applied to the principal is double the amount of Interest.
Year 25: the bank will have made $146,929.94 (revenue) on a $225,000 mortgage. That equals 65 per cent of the amount of the loan.
The system is broken. It is broken and we need it to be fixed so that food, clothing and shelter are not an optional luxury for community members.
It needs to be fixed so that we can all experience a comfortable quality of life. It needs to be fixed so that our children can have affordable housing, education and quality of life.
I believe it would be naïve for us to think the problem only exists in other countries. I spend time with disadvantaged members of our community; it is not an Us and Them situation. These are gifted, valuable members of our community.
Further, our community is global. They are us! So, I will continue to march.