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How American Life Continued to Deteriorate in 2016


#1

How American Life Continued to Deteriorate in 2016

Paul Buchheit

The reality of the disposable American has been building up in recent years, and new evidence keeps pouring in.


#2

I liked this article very much - stats that mean something.

Interesting way of putting it - "the disposable American".

I just watched "Zero Days", the two hour documentary about the Stuxnet worm and US Cyber Command. This is another head-shaker, along with Chomsky's "Requiem for the American Dream" and "Citizenfour".

Of course the world economic forum is taking place in Davos - it's all more than a little surreal - and then there is the election.

I keep wondering if The Fundamental Right is not the right to a good job - like on the signs. A job that pays the bills, provides respect to the worker, and, if progress renders that job obsolete, will be replaced by another equally good job ?

Of course this is anathema to this system of dog eat dog.

But it was the tribal way, I am thinking. Thus it is not only not without precedent - it is normal.

And couldn't we all use some more normal in our lives !


#3

How typically American that we changed the way we counted millionaires. No longer is a millionaire someone who has a salary over a million dollars a year, or someone with a million in the bank. No, now you are considered a millionaire if, the value of you home, your retirement fund, and all other holdings exceed a million dollars (ignoring of course, how much actual equity you have in those investments). So once again, another bullshit number.
I said to someone the other day that, by most measures, we have more in common with third world countries than we do with the first world. I stand by that assessment.


#4

A good article for MLK day, whose fight for economic justice is largely forgotten, class being a four letter word in the USA.


#5

No one with any economic intelligence ignores "actual equity." Of course, depending on the types of investments, equity will often change either a little or possibly a lot. BTW, the definition of a millionaire has not changed.


#6

Personally, I think every adult should receive a monthly government payment that would allow a person enough for basic food and shelter. In addition, the government should make available work to anyone who wishes it at a fairly low, minimum wage. This would allow the creative person to be creative, for instance.


#7

And Liberal Democrats wonder why they lost. Nice job Mr. Obama.


#8

Nice job, republican Congress.


#9

As someone who has lived near the poverty level at times in her life, nothing in the article surprises me. In fact, I've maintained for many years that for much of this country's population, the U.S. is a third world country. For them, this isn't news. Sadly, the only thing that has changed over the years is the growing percentage of the population now experiencing this. Even sadder, things are almost certainly going to get worse with Trump, hard as that might be to contemplate.

I'm now in my retirement years and living with a degree of economic security. I've now given up hope that I shall ever again know a year when this country is not at war in some foreign land, but had hoped to escape the inevitable implosion of of this country's social order into ever more violence and savagery, but, alas, I fear this is not to be. With each passing day in this country, more and more people are driven to desperation. This cannot continue. Change is coming and it will not likely be gentle or peaceful, if the great revolutions in history are any indication.


#10

I would agree with you if you said at a fair minimum wage, but the UBI is an idea whose time has come.


#11

Realistically, there is zero chance of giving away huge amounts of taxpayer funded money. A not too high UBI coupled with a chance to add a bit more with part time or more work with the employee basically in charge is already more than I can hope for even though it seems like a good plan to me.


#12

Does this mean my 99% buttons from the Occupy days are now collectable memorabilia of the good ole' days?


#13

As I have been saying for years in my blog, Outside Agitator's Notebook, the deterioration of our lives is due to deliberate policies of slow-motion genocide, the methodical extermination of those of us deemed no longer exploitable for profit.


#14

And despite the deceptive hullabaloo that surrounds his nomination and election, Donald Trump is obviously the One Percent's choice to escalate the genocide into a new Holocaust, the Final Solution to "making America great again" -- that is, as safe for the plantation owners as it was in the previous era of legalized slavery.


#15

There are lies

Damn lies

And the statistics that give the lie to them


#16

There is AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. At least it is a start.


#17

Too many people are apathetic or only care about themselves.


#18

Do we lie down and take it?


#19

Sounds great , but too many idiots would look at that as a handout.


#20

Experiments are taking place re some kind of guaranteed minimum wage.

Certainly this is an idea which will be tried in various ways, I imagine - because it is simple.

But I am very afraid of this idea as a stand alone solution.

Look at the reservation experience.

Once you deprive a person of meaningful work, I believe you have a major problem on hand.

There used to be a saying - "any work worth doing is worth doing well."

I think this is true. I think it also speaks to the normal human condition, which is manual repetitive work, which allows that most valuable attainment - skill.

And skill and physical work are conducive to having both feet on the ground, so to speak, and one's nose where it should be, and not in the air.

And I am not kidding.

When I could do exactly what I wanted to do, I chose mountaineering. It is hard physical work, very repetitive, and with passion and time and a little luck, skill and self esteem increase.

But of course it doesn't pay - just the opposite I'm afraid, but this only accentuates the main point I am making - what I have found in a longish and varied life.

The easy life is no life at all - we were not deigned for it - use it or lose it type of idea.

Wendell Berry, the philosopher farmer in the eastern USA, might agree with me I think. He advocates small farms, owned by the individual - and of course best practices on the farm - to ensure not only good food, but sustainability.

Can you imagine the hold the system would have on the individual if we were all sitting at home collecting a guaranteed wage - so that we could enrich Walmart gazillionaire owners further?

It is the system that is in drastic need of overhaul - big big time - and unlike a guaranteed wage - that is most emphatically neither simple nor easy. But that is no reason at all for not going for the gold - decent work for a decent life - bien vivir in some countries I believe.

So yes - perhaps a wage to keep away the wolf for now - but not for ever - not as a solution.