If the economy of the United States is so great, why do so many people still seem to be struggling?

I’m going to give an honest answer based upon my personal experience. People are going to accuse me of being judgmental or lacking empathy or whatever, assuming that I’m saying these things are true for everyone. They are not. These things are true for the people I know who are “struggling.”

Also, the bar for “struggling” isn’t set very low in the United States. Plenty of people think they’re “struggling” who still have it better than most other people in the world. So there’s that.

Still, I know several people who are American-level “struggling.” Most of them are old high school friends who grew up poor, just like me. We were in the same boat when we were teens in the 1990s, and now, in their late 30s, they’re still “struggling.” Our life paths went in different directions somewhere in our mid teens.

The other people I know who are “struggling” are people whom I managed when I was in retail management years ago.

Every single one of them who are “struggling” did one of these two things in their teens:

  • Drugs.
  • Had a child before they were married/could afford one.

In other words, they made bad decisions in their teens or early 20s, the ramifications of which lingered well into their adult life.

Neither of those things were forced upon any of them. They were warned of the consequences of both of those things (I was in those classes with my classmates all through middle school, where we were warned over and over not to do those things.)

The drug users mostly struggle to hold down anything other than a minimum-wage job, because they’re unreliable, unmotivated, or they’ve been fired from other places for stealing. Once you’re fired from one place, particularly in a small town, the word gets around to the other potential employers.

Many larger employers won’t hire anyone with a criminal record. A lot of the people I know who are struggling as adults because of drugs got in trouble with the law in their late teens and early 20s.

The other people who I know who struggle the most… the teen parents who now have teenagers of their own… were unable to focus on their education or careers when the rest of us were, because they were busy being single parents of young children.

Not all of the young, single parents went down that path, though. Some of them did very well for themselves. They all had parents who could support them while their children were young. That is, the baby’s grandparents helped out a lot, so the mother could keep going to school/focus on her education and career. The people without those supportive parents are just now, as their children are more independent, getting back to their own education and career advancement.

Anyway, like I said, this isn’t about everyone. It’s just about the people in my life who seem to be “struggling.” I’m sure other people have other experiences.

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