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A friend of mine on FB posted one of those poster type messages that you see... a way of making a statement without writing anything... one of those postcard type pictures that everybody then likes and shares if they agree or causes them to drop you from their friendslist if they don't. Here it is:



And somehow, reading this missive, the whole thing hit me. Everything I have been antsy about when it comes to the economic health of not just the USA but the world crystallized when I looked at it. I nearly posted a response there, but I knew it was going to be a thinkpost so I brought it back, here.

The statements offered above are very common sense and rooted in fairness for everyone. But of course, the whole point of it is not to be "fair." It's NEVER to be fair, actually.

But it goes a little bit beyond that. See our 1% do have a lot of power. They can use their money to buy politicians, who will continue to do work to help them retain their massive wealth.

Now, in theory, we should be able to counteract even the most wealthy people. After all, there's 99 of us for every 1 of them. The problem comes when you start examining needs and wants, which is where President Barack Obama is having some difficulty.

Within our group of ninety-nine, there are people that want and need certain things (for example, basic health care), while others of that group want and need other things (like decent paying jobs), and occasionally these things are at odds with each other (like when a company can't hire that many people if they have to provide health insurance to their workers).

And it's this element, the fact that we as the 99% not only can't but will never agree to any of these issues that will forever keep us right where we are.

Now, for his part, President Obama was attempting to systematically pick off some of these issues one at a time, which is why the health care thing had gotten so much attention. Health Care has been a discussion point since Bill Clinton was in the White House, and Hillary attempted and failed to make any progress with it back in the 1990s.

But, of course, the One Percenters made a lot of negative noise about it all, and the word "socialism" got used more than once. Of course, that incensed a portion of the 99%, which successfully worked to keep the whole thing off-balance. If there's in-fighting among the ranks, there's no chance of making any significant progress.

There's really nothing new going on here. The only question: will people still fall for the old Three Card Monte trick? as Pennsylvanian Congressional member John Witherspoon was perfectly paraphrased in the musical "1776,"

Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.

I suspect there are many people that feel they have the chance to join those one percenters. And that is the illusion. Everyone hopes to become super wealthy and to avoid spending that money on "stuff" that doesn't "benefit them."

From here, we really could veer off into several directions... the fact that the USA is still, despite our Commander-in-Chief, a racist nation that continues to disavow the fact that we are all part of the same material, that we all share a stake in each other's successes and that we will all go down in flames if we all don't make certain we are all okay. But we've covered that ground before and I'm sure we'll talk about it again, eventually.

We could discuss how short sighted everyone seems to be about things, how we narrowly avoided a depression (and actually, according to some definitions we really didn't avoid it), and still managed to stay solvent and functioning without a full-on economic collapse, and how the Obama Administration still managed to avoid raising taxes in any significant way. But some would say that's pandering and there'll be plenty of time for that for the weeks counting down to Election Day.

But to me, the most important thing to note now is the subtle element of what this really means: what I like to call the Invisible Wall. Maybe it's somewhat related to "The Glass Ceiling," certainly in design and in function. But here's the element that I see that will not just effect this election year, but the entire future of the United States of America.

If we, as the 99%, are just so caught up in the need to scramble to find work, to deal with the hardships of higher and higher rent, more expensive food that isn't healthy for us to eat, no proper medical treatment when we get sick from those problems and no real free time to attempt to enjoy life or to at least be able to think, the nation is dying.

Seriously. Ideas are borne from people who have time to daydream. Who have had a chance to eat. Who have gotten an education that they were able to afford. More and more, those people are the 1%. Which also means their creations will be earning them even more money, making them more wealthy, while we just buy their concepts and help with our shopping dollars.

This is where we need to start. The opportunity to have success in this country may not have been completely open to everyone, but now that door is rapidly closing to pretty much anyone that isn't solvent. Would J.K. Rowling have made it big if she were a US citizen? Absolutely not. And that's what we're talking about here.

What's the answer? There doesn't seem to be a direct one, or at least one that most people would have the stomach for, and that's revolution in the same style as the French did in 1789. But the wants and needs of the 99% are so divergent, it would be difficult to know who to attack!

But that's the point. And that's why it'll never happen.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
stacymckenna
Jun. 20th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
But the wants and needs of the 99% are so divergent, it would be difficult to know who to attack!

But that's the point. And that's why it'll never happen.


Hear, hear. Every time I hear one of my friends fantasize about the revolution, I shake my head because deep down, i grok this, even if I'd never articulated it so clearly. Really, this is the key. Depressing, but true.
penpusher
Jun. 20th, 2012 08:46 am (UTC)
All of the elements, the things that Orwell and Huxley and other writers warned us would happen have come true to a degree, and they are all working overdrive to keep this 99% from ever forming a true alliance. Never mind that people of different races are still seen as the enemy among us.

It's all so easy to manipulate people when you start to do things like hint you're going to take away their rights, or when they are too busy trying to earn enough to just eat and pay rent.

But this is the thing about our One Percenters. Their agendas will always be a lot more aligned than ours; they basically want the same things: to stay wealthy, to stay separate from the rest and to maintain that status quo.

Maybe there's a way to do it, but it would take a leader similar to a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that could organize and speak to these various groups within our community to get it moving. Even anarchy needs some organization!
jdquintette
Jun. 20th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
and occasionally these things are at odds with each other (like when a company can't hire that many people if they have to provide health insurance to their workers).

I suppose it would be belaboring the obvious to point out that this is only a factor in the United States, and that our business competitors in other industrialized nations do not have to bear these costs.In fact, this would be an excellent talking point in selling universal-single-payer healthcare as a "business-friendly' initiative, if it hadn't already been designated as That Which Must Never Even Be Discussed by our ruling elites, including the Obama administration.

Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.

That's a bit of an oversimplification, and leaves out the deepseated, irrational hatred of the poor that is one of the more striking characteristics of the American national character. I read somewhere that 80% of Americans believe the poor are complacent in their own condition, whereas only 20% believe they are that way due to circumstances beyond their control. This is the exact inverse of sentiment in the rest of the western world. I've certainly met people in Britain or Canada who've harped on about lazy welfare bums, but they're generally considered kooks and assholes. Here, they're viable presidential candidates.

Then there's the massive Elephant in the Room of race. The bipartinsanship that's made such a fetish of by our political chattering classes was really a product of uneasy alliances between southern Dixiecrats and northern liberals selling "socialistic" policies primarily benefitting whites. Once it became apparent that significant amounts of "my" tax dollars were going to the benefit of people of color, those dixiecrats defected to the GOP, where they've been ever since.
jdquintette
Jun. 20th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
If we, as the 99%, are just so caught up in the need to scramble to find work, to deal with the hardships of higher and higher rent, more expensive food that isn't healthy for us to eat, no proper medical treatment when we get sick from those problems and no real free time to attempt to enjoy life or to at least be able to think, the nation is dying.

I became convinced of this not long after moving here. I was teaching at an 'elite' university charging $38,000 a year in tuition, yet my students, many of whom were products of the best private schools in America, were often clueless dummies unable to think critically or write a coherent sentence, which goes a long way towards explaining why so many Americans are willing to buy into the fact-free bullshit that passes for political discourse here. When the most advatanged elites in a country are poorly educated twits, it's pretty much game over.
penpusher
Jun. 20th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
Well, here's the thing about that. These other industrialized nations are doing things out of tax money. Clearly that isn't what the 1% want to have happen, and as they have a lot of say about how the funds get distributed, they can make a lot of noise about how unfair it would be to tax them more, and then everyone who thinks they are close to being in the 1% will chime in... maybe not enough to prevent any movement, but certainly enough to grind whatever turns those wheels are making to a snail's pace.

It's tough to be critical of the Obama Administration, if you actually are paying attention to what they are doing and why they are not more successful. With the atmosphere that exists now, there's not a lot of wiggle room to accomplish many of these goals, and it seems even as the economy is making some progress, those people are less and less willing to stand with the President. Look at JP Morgan. They went right back to (monkey) business as usual and lost another 2 billion.

I specifically oversimplified the argument because I didn't want to get to the emotional aspects of everything regarding poor and regarding racism. There will be time to go into those areas later, as I stated.

Believe me, I am well aware of those aspects you are pointing out, and again, as always, I feel like you really didn't read what I wrote. If I were your professor, I'd have to take off points for that!
jdquintette
Jun. 20th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
they can make a lot of noise about how unfair it would be to tax them more, and then everyone who thinks they are close to being in the 1% will chime in...

Yes I suppose they could. If we had a functioning reportial system though, someone might point out that these very same people are complaining that US corporate tax rates are actually HIGHER than in many industrialized nations (and they are, it's just that there's so many loopholes that the amount most US companies actually PAY is much lower), so it's rather disegenious of them to argue that they are somehow higher and lower at the same time. I'm sure they'd find a way, but it'd be fun to watch them squirm.

It's tough to be critical of the Obama Administration, if you actually are paying attention to what they are doing and why they are not more successful.

I'm well aware of the reality of the political landscape, and the challenges facing the Obama administration. However I find it very easy indeed to criticize them for failing to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to make a strong case for the bleeding obvious, which is that health-care systems around the world (most, but not all, based on a single-payer model) deliver quality, affordable healthcare to ALL of their citizens, in most cases at half or less the cost-per-patient than we do. A sane political discourse would demand at least consideration and examination of systems PROVEN to work elsewhere, and to deliver better care than the current hodge-podge we suffer with here. And yet none of this was even considered, and we wound up with this ridiculous "uniquely American" welfare scheme for insurance companies which may or may not bring costs down, still leaves 30 million people without access, and "expands" access to a few million more by subsidizing overpriced crap "coverage" that is laughable by any metric but an American one.

As someone who lived for many years in countries with functioning health care systems I find the whole thing baffling and appalling, because I know from personal experience that it doesn't have to be this way. And I can't help but be extremely disappointed in the Obama administration for not pointing that out and vigorously promoting tried and true solutions that work well elsewhere. The only explanation is that they are idiots, or have made a devils bargain with private insurance interests.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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