“It’s Uniquely American, Isn’t It?”

We’re getting the economy we deserve.

Jessica Wildfire
5 min readJun 23, 2022


Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

George W. Bush walked into an Omaha diner.

He struck up a conversation with a waitress raising three children by herself. “You work three jobs?” he said. Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

You hear this kind of thing a lot from rich people, especially affluent Americans who’ve never had a real job.

They love hearing our struggles.

It makes a great story.

Enough with numbers already.

Sure, we could spend all day looking at charts and graphs, talking about the average cost of living and the consumer price index. We could talk about inflation and employment figures.

It doesn’t seem to help.

If you really want to know how the economy’s doing, you have to talk to people. You have to listen.

Most of our politicians and economists don’t do that.

They live in a bubble.

That’s not the point.

Imagine meeting a waitress or a cashier and listening to them talk about the long hours they work, just to support their families, and then telling them how inspiring you find all that.

That’s not the point.

The point is that in America, you can work 60 or 70 hours a week and still barely afford a place to live.

You can end up homeless.

Most of us live one medical emergency away from total bankruptcy. In fact, we’re the only developed country where this routinely happens. Meanwhile, corporations post record profits. CEOs make more than 350 times what the average worker does.

Americans celebrate that.

Americans have a toxic attitude toward wealth.

Last week, I read a tweet from a young woman who’s trying to help the homeless in her city. She spent countless hours trying to gather documents so someone could get a driver’s license, just so that person could withdraw their own money from a bank.