So, if you’re on twitter and breathing air, you probably heard about Sen. Chuck Grassley’s comments on what keeps folks from investing their money. He has now claimed that his comments were taken out of context (though I don’t see in what context they could be anything other than irritating and offensive), so I thought I’d break this down.
I see more movies in the theater than anyone I know. I’m sure it’s not record-setting, but a movie a week adds up.
I have kept numbers now on how much I spend on movies in the theater since 2014.
I’ve spent an average of $10 per ticket – an average of just over $600 a year on movies in the theater. That’s $2413 on roughly 240 movies over the last four years. Could I have religiously saved that money and “invested” it, instead. Sure. In theory. Anyone who spends most of their money knows that’s not really how it goes. You put $10 or $15 in savings per week and it doesn’t get invested. It goes. It goes on emergencies or on unexpected expenses or on trips or on presents at Christmastime.
Instead I spent it on industry. An industry that has spent money all over the U.S. and which creates work for tens of thousands of small businesses.
I am not saying the industry is saintly or anything. There are plenty of problems with the way they’re funded and the way they carve up the profits of their enterprises, as well as with the products they produce. The point is, this is how capitalism is supposed to work. The film industry comes closer to successful trickle-down economics than almost anything else I can think of.
Grassley’s point, in saying dismissively that the new tax bill rewards “investors” over consumers is this notion that if you save all your money and spend it on property, you’re somehow more virtuous and more deserving. But without people who actually spend money on things, American industry would collapse.
This is not at all a new concept.
Not to mention, I, who sees far more movies than anyone else that I know would have saved less than $2500 in four years by being absolutely ascetic. Movies are entertainment for me, sure. They’re also socialization and engagement and relief and escapism. Pretty good bang for the buck, too, at $5 an hour.
Would avoiding seeing all those movies allow me to actually do anything? Could I buy a house with $2500? Obviously not. Could I even make a down-payment on one? No. Experts advise putting down 20 percent. Average house value in my town according to Zillow is well over half a million dollars. The minimum down-payment I would need to get a mortgage that would cover a house here would be about $20,000. That’s 32 years of seeing zero movies. I would be 72 and much spiritually poorer for the (lack of) experience. (Not to mention the target may have shifted, somewhat, by that time.)
I see an average of 60 movies a year. The average American sees 5. Five. Movies. $50. Maybe $100 if they see everything in imax 3d.
So even if we leave aside Mr. Grassley’s obvious contempt for people who can’t afford property and who prefer love, celebration and entertainment over spending half a lifetime saving to *maybe* be able to have an ‘estate’ someday (and we shouldn’t leave it aside, but for the sake of argument…) we find that once again, some folks who allegedly lead us don’t have any fucking clue how money works down here on the ground.
Not really a shock. None of them have had their feet on the ground in years.
Maybe they should take in a movie like us common folk.
Like maybe this one:
Or this one:
Or this one:
Or shit, any film about folks who make less money than they do might lend them a sliver of empathy. Though if recent political news is any indication, they might need to be injected with more than just a sliver.