A. The plunder of the American people (7)
“Almost two in three Americans don’t have enough savings to pay for a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room bill”… (PRNewswire, Jan 6, 2016). «Half the country is either living in poverty or damn near close to it. New reports indicate two thirds of Americans can no longer afford to fix their cars» (Salon, Dec. 23, 2015).
A functioning car is virtually a necessity in the US, as the public transportation system throughout the greater part of the country is in terrible shape: old, decrepit, grossly inadequate with long waits for passengers. “Only 5 percent of Americans report using public transportation «every day or most days,» and a whopping 61 percent report «never» using it.” (“Why Public Transportation Is So Limited in the United States” — Truthout, Aug. 17, 2015). How else other than a private automobile to get to and from work in a reasonable time and to manage daily affairs?
According to the American Automobile Assocation (AAA), the annual cost of owning and driving an automobile in the US is $8,698 (Apr 28, 2015). That comes to $725 a month, or the equivalent to about 43,500 rubles monthly.
New York City is one of the very few metropolitan centers in the US that has an adequate large-scale urban public transport system. However, it is grossly inferior to Moscow’s. The cost of a New York subway or bus ride is $2.75 and will soon be $3 (patch.com/new-york, Nov 16, 2016).
And what a decrepit and dangerous subway system it is!
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in the city’s subway system and called for a surge of spending on improvements, days after a derailment injured 39 passengers and forced the evacuation of hundreds from the disabled train. The derailment shut down service for hours on a system that’s been bedeviled for months by delays, due in part to deferred maintenance and the use of obsolete equipment.
«The terminus for hundreds of thousands of daily passengers from Long Island and New Jersey has been the site of two derailments in recent months. Part of the subway is more than 100 years old, and some cars are still in operation after more than 50 years. Hurricane Sandy flooded some stations and tracks in 2012, causing corrosion to electrical systems.” (State of Emergency for NYC’s Troubled Subways, Bloomberg, June 29, 2017)
If you need to use both a bus and subway to get to work (the most common occurrence), you are talking about spending $11 a day or approximately $242 per month. In ruble terms, that amounts to 660 rubles a day or about 14,500 rubles a month. Every other trip costs an additional amount, of course. In Moscow pensioners like myself have unlimited free transportation here, on a public transportation system which is far superior to New York’s.
For the average person in the US, taxes are monstrously high. “The average U.S. household that owns a home will pay about $14,000 in income, sales and real estate taxes this year — that’s about 27% of their total income.” (NerdWallet, Inc. Apr 8, 2015). Other estimates are higher: “The average American worker faces a total tax burden of 31.5%, according to new report from the Tax Foundation.” — (fedsmith.com, July 23, 2015)
Let us consider our median-income US family ($51,939 a year) which has an overall yearly tax burden of about 30%. That reduces spendable income by about $15,580 a year (roughly $1,300 monthly). Again in ruble terms, these means a income loss equivalent to 78,000 rubles a month!
Even unemployment benefits in the US are taxable!
College tuition costs…
A college degree has become a virtual necessity for young people seeking a decent-paying job.
“For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is disturbingly high: 17.8 percent. Add in those who are underemployed, either because they would like a full-time job but can only find part-time work, or they are so discouraged that they’ve given up actively searching, and the share jumps to more than 33 percent… low wages combined with rising housing costs make it tough to get ahead… If things are tough for high school graduates, for those without a high school diploma, the job hunt can be grim. (“It’s a Tough Job Market for the Young Without College Degrees” — New York Times,May 10, 2016)
So what does it cost in the US to get a college education?
”According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities” (www.collegedata.com) These figures translate to 2,009,000 rubles (yes, that’s right – over 2 million rubles per year!), 579,000 rubles and 1,495,800 rubles. How about them apples?
So how do college students pay for their education. By working simultaneously with studying – an onerous task, to be sure. Recall our previous statistic that 80% of US college students have to work as they go to college.
But all this work is not enough, College students have to take out massive loans in order to continue their education!
“Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever… Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year» (“A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2016,” studentloanhero.com, 2016),
Again, please. 44 million American college graduates owe nearly $1.3 TRILLION in debt. How much is this? Note that this enormous figure is comparable to the entire Gross Domestic Product of the Russian Federation over the past few years: “Gross Domestic Product in Russia averaged 876.86 USD Billion from 1989 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 2230.63 USD Billion in 2013 and a record low of 195.91 USD Billion in 1999” (tradingeconomics.com).
“According to new data published by the U.S. Department of Education, $137 billion of federal student loans were in default as of December 2016, a 14% year-over-year increase.” (“Balance Of Student Loans In Default Soars To Over $137 Billion”, ZeroHedge March 14, 2017)
I will let you figure out how much US student debt amounts to in rubles. Multiply by about 60.
And ask yourself if this information is every reported in Russia…
Правительство США жестоко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com
Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 13 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.
ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — мне запретить выступать в СМИ и не пропускать большинства отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…
Арнольд Локшин, политэмигрант из США