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Woman who moved to Italy lists the most basic human needs Americans now have to pay for

Remember when these things used to be free? They still are in some places.

@cioaamberc/TikTok, Canva

"As Americans we've removed everything we actually need in daily life."

How many times have you, or someone in your circle, made this joke:

“I can’t seem to go outside without spending money!

But, as with many jokes, there’s some dark truth layered in. Life just feels a little hard right now for many of us when it comes to finances. And one person has hit the nail on the head as to why. Spoiler alert: it probably has nothing to do with anyone being lazy.

Amber Cimiotti, a mom of two and expat living in Italy, begins her video by noting how America has removed naturally occurring activities like “exercise, talking to friends, connecting with people, spending time with our kids,” from everyday life. And so now, Americans only have access to these very necessary things if they are able to pay for them.


For example—let’s talk about exercise. Cimiotti notes how "there's not many places, neighborhoods, and cities where it's super easy to walk everywhere, where you can get a lot of natural exercise, whether it's walking to and from your house or to the grocery stores. This just doesn't exist for most people now, so you have to wake up earlier on your lunch break or after work; you have to go to the gym so you can get in your exercise." Which means someone has to have anywhere between $40 to upwards of $300+ a month to invest in their physical health in this way.

Next up—mental health resources, primarily in the form of real conversations in a supportive community. Cimiotti says “people are meant to share their struggles, their stories, everyday, constantly. And we’re not doing that. And what do you see happening? Nowadays, everybody needs a therapist. Yes, therapy is needed for some things but most people just need to be talking to people way more. And I don’t mean like trolling on the internet.”

Also—child care. "There used to be kids running around neighborhoods all the time. Parents didn't have to pay all this extra money to do activities so their kids can be involved in things; parents didn't have to drive all over the place... But now that doesn't exist. So we do need to pay for activities,” Cimiotti says.

Lastly—food. “Eating healthy food in America is a part-time job, if not a full-time job…it would all be so much easier if we just had healthy food in general.” I don’t think Cimiotti needs to convince anyone here that quality food (food in general, really) is definitely not accessible for many folks, and high prices are at least partially to blame.

“The point is when things don’t happen naturally in your day and you need to take extra energy to achieve basic things like healthy food, exercise, talking to friends, which helps regulate emotions and things like that…when you have to build those into therapy sessions, exercise sessions, hobbies, reading 17 books…of course you’ll be tired,” Cimiotti concludes with a big sigh.

@ciaoamberc #america #culture #family #friends #parenting #society ♬ original sound - Ciao AmberC

Down in the comments, people seemed to really resonate with what Cimiotti had to say.

One reader commented, “I’m totally convinced that a lot of therapy effects could be achieved by processing time with an array of friends in different stages of life. Which isn’t possible to mutually schedule like therapy.”


And while Cimiotti’s video might be sobering, she tells Buzzfeed that her hope is it can lead to more conversations that “help lead to a change.”

Judging by some of the viewer reactions, it seems she’s succeeded, at least in helping people not blame themselves for their challenges. One person shared, “It’s so validating to hear cause I feel like I never have enough time to just live well and not be completely exhausted and have space left to do fun stuff!”

On July 18, "Good Morning America" tweeted a link to a segment about a new "trendy baby shower gift."

Instead of more conventional gifts, the story explained, co-workers of new moms are donating their own paid vacation time so that their colleagues can have ample time off after giving birth.

"'It really, really meant a lot to me,'" GMA wrote in its tweet, quoting a new mom featured in the story who benefited from the trend. "I was extremely appreciative and very humbled.'"

Does this story just ... not sit well with you? You're definitely not alone.


People were alarmed that a "trend" like this could be framed in such a positive light in GMA's tweet.

The morning show was flooded with aggravated replies from readers — mostly women — disturbed by how the story reflects a sobering reality about how our society values parenthood.

"This is a horrifying story," the top comment in the tweet's replies read. "Co-workers making up for what employers aren't providing IS NOT A FEEL-GOOD STORY. Damn is the U.S. ever broken."

"One of my friends went back to work the week after having her baby," another reply read. "This shit is ridiculous."

[rebelmouse-image 19346571 dam="1" original_size="750x399" caption="Photo by Samantha Hurley/Burst." expand=1]Photo by Samantha Hurley/Burst.

To be fair, the morning show's on-air segment and online article did a much better job putting the "trend" into context and pointing to Washington's failures when it comes to parental leave policy. But the tweet's wording left many readers cringing at its sunny, lighthearted tone.

One of those readers was Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

He shared GMA's tweet with his followers, adding that ideally, big-hearted co-workers shouldn't have to provide this "generous baby shower gift" to their friends at work — the law would already guarantee it.

[rebelmouse-image 19346572 dam="1" original_size="633x225" caption="Image via ;Sen. Brian Schatz/Twitter." expand=1]Image via ;Sen. Brian Schatz/Twitter.

Schatz's take is hardly radical, of course. Research suggests that a wide majority of Americans, spanning all political leanings, agree that we need a federal paid parental leave policy.

It's absurd we don't have one already.

The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without a federal policy mandating new parents get at least some paid time off.

Right now, the Family Medical Leave Act calls for businesses with 50 or more employees to allow parents 12 weeks time off without fear of losing their job. But there's a huge caveat: That time doesn't need to be paid.

While many white-collar workers enjoy paid parental leave benefits, many low-income parents — and, disproportionately, women of color — don't have such benefits through their jobs. They're the ones who are furthest left behind.

But as the Schatz noted to his Twitter followers, we can do something about it.

The good news is, the persistent calls for change have never been louder. A handful of states have passed promising paid-leave policies in recent years, and there's growing demand for the federal government to follow suit. Women are running for office in record numbers, too, giving hope that a potential gender shift in Washington could re-prioritize which issues get addressed in the years to come.

We need to vote to make it happen, though.

Head over to Ballotpedia to learn more about who's on the ballot in your own area ahead of the November midterms, and give your vote to a candidate who will make paid paternity leave a priority in office.

In 2017, the British luxury brand Burberry burned over $37 million worth of unsold clothes, perfumes, bags, and other goods.

And over the past five years, they've reportedly incinerated over $117 million worth.

The luxury brand intentionally destroys their surplus products as an attempt to help protect their brand and stock. According to the BBC, Burberry has been making serious efforts to make their goods appear as exclusive commodities after an uptick of counterfeit items have hit the gray market.


"The reason they are doing this is so that the market is not flooded with discounts," Maria Malone, a fashion business professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, told the BBC. "They don't want Burberry products to get into the hands of anyone who can sell them at a discount and devalue the brand."

But the exposure of this practice has people furious.

Clearly, the brand's priorities can and should be called into question, and people spoke out on social media.

Burberry definitely could've addressed this issue in ways that didn't involve completely destroying their products.

1. They could've slowed production.

While Burberry insisted that "the energy generated from burning its products was captured" — meaning it was done in a supposedly green way — at least a few environmental activists have criticized Burberry for wasting the natural resources used to make their products in the first place.

Lu Yen Roloff, an activist from Greenpeace, said that one way they could've prevented this is by slowing production of items rather than overproducing and destroying the excess.

"Despite their high prices, Burberry shows no respect for their own products and the hard work and natural resources that are used to made them," Roloff told the BBC. "The growing amount of overstock points to overproduction, and instead of slowing down their production, they incinerate perfectly good clothes and products."

2. They could've de-branded and donated the goods to charity.

Others on Twitter suggested that by altering the appearance of their items, Burberry would be able to protect itself from cheapening the brand or enabling counterfeiters.

3. They could've garnered positive publicity by donating to charity.

While this may come off as unsavory, it's still a more conscious alternative to burning. Burberry could've simply donated their items to homeless shelters and other charitable organizations. The PR from such an act would have certainly attracted public attention — and more profit.

Burberry isn't the only brand that uses this practice, but let's hope they see the backlash and consider changing their ways.

Both Chanel and Louis Vuitton have intentionally destroyed their unwanted items to help make their brands remain "exclusive." But in a time where more people are grappling with poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness, these fashion brands should be aware of what kind of message they're sending.

Let's hope they recognize that their impact on the world matters.

Just six years ago, the city of Stockton, California, filed for bankruptcy. Now, it's giving money away to its residents.

In October 2017, Stockton's elected officials announced plans to give "a few dozen families" $500 a month, no strings attached, for 12-18 months.

But why give away sweet, free money?


It's called universal basic income (UBI) and as history shows, it's not a new idea.

The philosophy behind UBI programs like Stockton's actually dates back to the 16th century.

The idea originated with Thomas More's 1516 novel "Utopia," which took place in a world where the government passed its profits back to its citizens. Thomas Paine, the British-American activist best known for his 1776 pamphlet, "Common Sense," advocated for a similar idea, calling it "citizen's dividend." British thinker and activist Bertrand Russell made an argument for "a certain small income, sufficient for necessaries, should be secured to all, whether they work or not." In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. called for a guaranteed income "pegged to the median of society."

Hello, ladies. It's me, Thomas Paine. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The only time the U.S. truly considered implementing a UBI was under President Richard Nixon. He took a liking to the idea of giving individuals a guaranteed income, with early outlines of a proposal offering to give families the equivalent of about $10,000 in today's money per year. Unfortunately for UBI enthusiasts, Nixon was talked out of the idea just before its launch.

In 1976, Alaska created the Alaska Permanent Fund, which paid the state's residents a dividend for profits brought in through oil drilling. It's shifted a bit since then, surviving a number of court challenges throughout the years, but it still exists to this day.

Economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, favorites among conservatives, had also endorsed the idea as a way of addressing poverty outside the framework of the more complex social safety net system.

In the 1970s, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of current PM Justin Trudeau) launched a "mincome" (minimum income) program aimed at alleviating poverty in Dauphin, Manitoba. The program was extremely popular, but after Trudeau's political opponents took power, it was gutted. Canada continues to dabble in UBI, though it's yet to be implemented on any sort of national scale.

Stockton's UBI program won't cost taxpayers anything — at least for now.

Thanks to interest from business leaders in nearby Silicon Valley (Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has made multiple arguments in favor of UBI programs, citing the Alaska Permanent Fund as an example of how they can work), Stockton's $1.2 million 12-18 month program is being paid for entirely through outside donations.

The reason tech CEOs tend to be so interested in the idea is based on the fact that the world is gradually moving more and more towards automation.

Priscilla and I spent the weekend around Homer, Alaska as part of the Year of Travel challenge. It's beautiful...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

In an interview with NPR, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs explained why the city's doing this: "People deserve a basic economic floor so the bottom doesn't fall out under them."

"People working 14-hour days, working incredibly hard, and being rewarded with wages that haven't kept up with the cost of inflation over the past two generations," he said, articulating some reasons why a UBI might help address some of the issues brought on by wealth inequality.

Michael Tubbs attends the 'True Son' documentary premiere in 2014. He's now the mayor of Stockton. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Beyond that, Tubbs believes people are more than their jobs.

"We're not just designed just to work all day and run a rat race," he said. "We're designed to be in community, to volunteer, to vote, to raise our kids. And I think the more inputs and investments we can give in people to do those things, the better off we are as a community."

It'll be interesting to watch what happens in Stockton over the next few years. If history's any indication, it could be good.