20 Things That Will Happen When No One Can Afford to Live in America Anymore
What Our Future Looks Like
Typically, the antiwork subreddit at Reddit is just what it sounds like. A bunch of lazy people complaining that they have to work instead of being rewarded for existing. However, one post over there caught my eye because it raises a relevant and valid question:
What is going to happen when nobody can afford to live anymore?
It feels like we're almost there.
For background, I work full time as an EMT making $26/hr, which is one of the highest paying wages for this job anywhere. I STILL can't afford the area I live in on that wage.
I looked into moving back to my hometown because I miss my friends and family. Average wage there for a paramedic (which I am getting my license for now) is around $22-28/hr. So mostly less than I make now in a lower-ranking job. Apartments in that area are at cheapest $2000/month for a 1 bedroom, there are almost no studios. The area I grew up in is practically unlivable.
It seems like more and more places are falling into housing crises. I can't afford here. I can't afford where I grew up. When I looked in a different less expensive area, I tried to find an apartment, and there were two vacancies combined on all of the common rental sites. Two. I looked in a big city I have a few friends in and there is nothing under $2000/monthly for a studio. Not to come off as egotistical or anything, but my job is f*cking important. Shouldn't I be able to live somewhat comfortably working full time?
When the housing crisis spreads even more, and wages continue to be this disproportionate to the cost of living.... what are people going to do? When they can't find anywhere to exist? And when their jobs don't support sustaining a life? What is going to happen? I'm scared for the future.
Now, some of you may be thinking, “$26 per hour sounds pretty good.” That very much depends on where you live in America. In places like Manhattan, DC, San Francisco, and Seattle, those are essentially poverty wages. Although I haven’t been to San Francisco since COVID, one of the things I always noticed visiting there was that none of my Uber drivers in San Francisco actually LIVED within 30 minutes of San Francisco. They couldn’t afford it. When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, and worked in DC, there was one guy who literally commuted 4 hours each way, every day, because that was the only way he could afford a decent house for his family.
And guess what? Things have gotten significantly worse since then because the Fed printed so much money during COVID that it massively spiked inflation. Supposedly, the yearly target number for inflation is 2% and it reached a high of 9.1% in June of last year, but since the government has a lot of leeway in determining which products count towards the consumer price index, it’s very easy to rig the numbers – and they do. Big time:
In fact, we may actually be at the beginning of the horrible economic trap people concerned about the deficit have been warning about for decades.
The government desperately needs the Fed to print large amounts of money to devalue the dollar. That makes it easier for it to pay off the massive amounts of money it has borrowed. However, when the Fed devalues the dollar, the poor and middle class get skinned alive because it leads to inflation going up much faster than wages. Some of the rich will also take a beating as well, but a few rich people at the very top would become even more staggeringly wealthy than they already are. This is because high inflation is generally bad for the rich as well as the poor, but wealthier people are theoretically much better able to deal with it because they have enough excess cash to purchase hard assets like property, gold, art, jewels, profitable companies, Bitcoin, etc, that are likely to appreciate in value with inflation instead of tanking. In fact, some of the richest among us may be able to set themselves up to benefit tremendously down the road just by having the wealth to buy hard assets at bargain basement prices during the downturn.
In other words, we may see the world’s first trillion-dollar man at the same time the poor and middle class are fully changing over from, “Tomorrow will be better than today,” to “How are we possibly going to make it tomorrow?”
So, what will happen over time in the highly likely event we continue down this road and what will be the consequences? We can’t say exactly when or in what order these things will occur, but since this sort of thing has been happening over and over for centuries in nations with fiat currencies, we can make some educated guesses as to how things will play out over time. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s not a pretty picture.
Here are, “The 20 Things We Can Expect to See When People Can No Longer Afford to Live in America Anymore”:
1) The gap between the rich and poor and the resentment over it will continue to grow immensely.
2) Taxes will go up across the board, but especially on the rich. The rich will flee the high taxes. That will likely mean moving to low-tax states at first, but eventually, it will mean finding ways to move themselves and their assets overseas. This will exacerbate the financial pressure on states and the federal government.
3) Price controls and rent control will become more common, which will help politicians evade responsibility in the short term but will lead to much worse problems over the long term.
4) Shortages of products will become more and more commonplace as price controls and general inefficiency become more commonplace.
5) Populism will rise, both parties will become more polarized, and political conflict will become increasingly extreme, irreconcilable & dangerous.
6) Morality will degrade. Prostitution, drug use, nihilism, and degeneracy of every sort will explode.
7) America’s military will weaken dramatically as the quality of recruits plunges and we no longer have the money to properly maintain and supply our forces.
8) People will downgrade their lifestyles, in some cases, dramatically. Growing vegetables in the backyard, drinking rainwater, and cutting firewood to keep warm in the winter may go from trendy or “country” ways to live to commonplace.
9) Homes will get smaller. It wouldn’t even be a shock to start seeing multiple tiny, relatively cheap, 400-square-foot homes popping up on properties that would normally have one house on them today:
10) The value of pensions and money people have saved will drop faster and faster over time as inflation eats into their value.
11) The value of Social Security and Medicare will also drop tremendously over time because of inflation, to the point where both programs may have the same names, but they will be a shadow of what they are today.
12) The government will institute a wealth tax. It will be sold as something to target the rich, but in practice, over time, they will be taking large amounts of money from people no one considers rich.
13) Americans will go to much greater lengths to avoid paying taxes. That may very well lead to black markets springing up and more barter.
14) Crime, thefts, riots, corruption, bribery, and disorder will dramatically increase – and not just in the big cities.
15) A string of city and state government bankruptcies will occur.
16) Government will try to provide bread and circuses (those may not be necessary for modern America since the private sector has it covered) to help keep the populace more docile. That might very well mean universal basic income.
17) The dollar will lose its reserve currency status, which will lead to the government taking desperate, unpopular measures to cut spending.
18) Potentially, hyperinflation will occur as the government prints more and more worthless money, or alternately, massive deflation will come into play as the government moves back to the gold standard.
19) A long depression in the United States could take place and potentially, globally as the US economy collapses economically.
20) There will be a dramatic rebalancing of the system that could occur in a variety of ways. Wealth confiscation, revolution, civil war, secession, dictatorship, coup, or some other radical change to the system that is viewed as helping to recenter society.
Think of these as symptoms of a disease. The more of them you see and the more pronounced they are, the worse it’s getting. The faster they’re moving, the less time you have until the end.
The good news is that like a human being who isn’t taking care of himself, we can always change course, add some healthy habits, and potentially change our trajectory. The bad news is that also like a human being, the most likely course is that we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, even if we know better, until it’s too late.