According to our capitalist overlords, you’re broke because you eat lunch

In an article published in USA Today, the newspaper claimed that Americans are indulging in too many ‘nonessential’ expenditures … like having a midday meal

We live in what feels like permanently lean times. Forty-two per cent of American adults are at risk of retiring broke, a whopping 60% don’t have enough money saved to cover a $1,000 expense and the majority don’t expect their lot to improve in 2019.

But fret no more, for the Nobel-worthy economists at (“we make life insurance simple”) have figured out what’s holding you back from getting ahead, saving for retirement and taking out a lavish life insurance policy: lunch.

According to a study commissioned by the altruistic insurance website and reported by USA Today, the average American spends nearly $1,500 a month on “nonessential items” such as takeout or delivery, gym memberships, rideshares and “buying lunch”.

So, food, exercise, transportation and … um, food. Also on the chopping block: personal grooming (because hiring managers love an unkempt dirtbag), bottled water (think of your thirst as God’s way of punishing you for your poor financial planning) and TV or movie streaming services (forget “Netflix and chill”, it’s time for “stare at the wall and drool”). But who has time to watch movies anyway when you get up at 4am to walk to work because they defunded public transit in your area? Oh well, at least that takes care of exercise. Meeting a friend for drinks or coffee? Whatever you say, Warren Buffett.

Who has time to watch movies anyway when you get up at 4am to walk to work because they de-funded public transit in your area?

Concludes Ladder cofounder Laura Hale said: “Trading off a couple of smaller short-term purchases per month can support a monthly policy payment. It can give you the longer-term satisfaction that comes from making sure your family is protected.” By “family”,

I assume she means whatever pets you’re allowed to keep in the pods we will all soon live in, because those are the only kids a person with your budget and grooming habits is having. (Then again, maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the erotic potential of “stare at the wall and drool”.)

While this is obviously well-funded PR designed to shame you into buying insurance from, legitimate outlets such as USA Today are uncritically presenting “the tendency to splurge consistently on nonessentials” as what’s “causing Americans to neglect their near-term savings” and “skimp on other important items” like – Jesus Christ – “life insurance”. (I hope the paper at least got some money for this.) The embedded ideological message: if you’re broke, it’s your own fault, so suck it up, make some air sandwiches, and whatever you do, don’t blame the system. Bootstraps! John Wayne! Horatio Alger!

Of course, putting all the onus for hardship on the individual obscures the real reasons more people than ever are having trouble affording the bare necessities, let alone “nonessentials” like recipe boxes geared toward those too exhausted to shop for groceries — which, it bears mentioning, are not free, themselves – while a lucky few live in luxury: stagnant wages, the destruction of organized labor, and an increasing reliance on rising rents and consumer debt as capitalism develops into a new, finance and real estate-centric phase with the help of government policymakers.

If you want to get really angry, take a look at the ever widening gulf between wages and productivity, or the fact that the richest 1% of Americans now control a share of the country’s wealth not seen since the Great Depression. As Bryan Quinby of leftist podcast Street Fight Radio put it in a video for “I know where the money is. Jeff Bezos has it, the Waltons have it … they took it from us. Your work made that money. You deserve that money. That’s your money. ”

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to save money or plan for the future. It’s never a bad idea to do what you can to make life in hell world as survivable as possible for the duration of your time on this dying planet. But if you continually come up short, don’t blame your salad bar addiction. Blame the global 1% and the system that enables them. And then, if I may offer some long-term financial advice of my own, take collective action against them. There’s more than enough food and beverages to go around, if only we can stop those at the top from eating our lunch.

All Rights Reserved for Jamie Peck

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