Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz thinks America is in need of some help. “We can’t be bystanders anymore,” He told Fortune magazine. “It’s a dangerous time, we are drifting toward mediocrity. We deserve a better America.”
Schultz is no slouch. His insight helped him rapidly expand Starbucks into a coffee-shop powerhouse that has almost 20,000 stores in 58 countries. In a business sense, he knows what he’s talking about.
So how is America doing? Read these few statistics about our country:
- Unemployment stands at 8.2%. The last time we saw unemployment this high before the recession was at the end of 1983. (BLS.gov)
- The labor force participation rate is at its lowest level (63.8%) in 30 years. (BLS.gov)
- Nearly 25 million adults live at home with their parents because they’re unemployed or underemployed.
- A 2008 Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston states that the average age at which a U.S. consumer under the age of 35 first adopted a credit card is 20.8 years. The average age of credit card adoption for a consumer over the age of 65 is 40.6 years.
- As of 2010, the US Census Bureau reports that US Citizens have over $886 billion in credit card debt.
- According to a National Republican Congressional Committee report, gas prices had risen 103.79% during Obama’s Presidency through April 8. The last president to see doubled prices was Jimmy Carter.
- A National Center for Education Statistics study shows that, in current dollars, the average cost for college tuition to a 4-year institution almost doubled from 2000 to 2010.
- The U.S. National Debt is almost at $16 trillion dollars.
Schultz said, “We need real leadership from Washington and from the business community. I’ve been the ultimate beneficiary of the American dream, and that dream is now in jeopardy.”
Debt will weigh us down, and we need leadership in Washington that can see this. Can we not simply turn our heads east and look at how Europe is doing with debt on top of debt? If you think taxes and spending need to be increased to lower debt, stop reading this article – you likely won’t agree with anything on this website.
Regardless of what happens in Washington, what Americans really need to do is focus on improving themselves instead of becoming more and more reliant upon a government. The government is there to provide structure, but that in no way means we should have expectations of receiving something from them.
We’re in a hole right now, and we are “drifting towards mediocrity” as Schultz says. We have no options to do anything but focus on improving ourselves and making the best of our situation. As a country, we need to save our money, spend responsibly, and make quality decisions based on improving ourselves in the long-run – not just for the next week or month or year, but for decades. This will be difficult, but no one ever said it would be easy. If things were easy, they wouldn’t be as rewarding.
We don’t know what the world will throw at us in our lifetimes, so we have to plan with the assumption that we can’t rely on anything or anyone but ourselves and our families. It is very possible Obama could be re-elected and ObamaCare could stand; we may complain about it all day long and warn about the dangers of continuing the program, but talking about it won’t do us any good – the most we can do is vote. Outside of politics, we never know when a tsunami, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or Iranian missile will ruin part of our country and cost billions of dollars in recovery efforts.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably conservative…if not, you can’t argue with this one point that goes beyond Republicans, Democrats, Romney, or Obama: Americans should live inside their means. Some will have to sacrifice more than others to save money, but is that not a reward worth working towards? This world isn’t completely about money, but the reality is that it costs money to do what you enjoy.
We must work harder to achieve what we want. If we aren’t successful at the end of the day, at least we can say we tried. I’d rather try and fail than expect a handout from a government that can barely run its self. Doing these simple things would be the most American thing we could do.
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