The Death of the Middle Class was by Design...

Even in the face of the so-called Recovery, poverty and inequality are getting worse in our country, and more wealth and power is flowing straight to the top. According to Paul Buchheit over at Alternet, this is the end result of winner-take-all capitalism, and this destruction of the working class has all been by design.

Paul explained that more and more Americans are viewed as “disposable” by those at the top. The banksters and the corporate elite have used a six-step process to turn the working poor into nothing more than commodities or criminals that can be used and tossed aside like garbage.

As Paul Buchheit explained, first they start by depleting our wealth, which was accomplished by destroying our pensions and decreasing the value of millions of our homes. After that, the corporate elite striped away our income by slashing wages and keeping them low for everyone except those at the top.

Next they took away our homes with illegal foreclosures and rising rent prices, which meant more and more of us ended up on the street. Then they hit our wallets with everything from banking fees to traffic fines to rising interest rates to make sure that we never had a chance to get ahead. And, those fines lead to the next step, when the poor were turned into criminals over unpaid fees and court costs for trivial offenses.

Lastly, they made us desperate by making our children suffer. About half of all food stamp recipients are kids, which means that millions of parents are willing to take demeaning work just to survive.

This systematic destruction has taken decades to accomplish, but that doesn't mean that it can't be reversed. It won't be easy, but we can take back our economy and make it work for all of us.

No American deserves to feel disposable and it's up to us to fight for a future in which we are valued as more than just a commodity.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 5 weeks ago
#1

"CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA, CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!" - President Obummer

Need I say more? - AIW

BenDorigan's picture
BenDorigan 7 years 5 weeks ago
#2

An alternative to raising the minimum wage, which can hurt small businesses, is to rather hitch an employers' corporate tax rate to the ratio between their total payroll vs. their gross profits, with special weight given to the median employee wage. Using the median wage keeps the payroll figure from appearing artificially high due to a few highly paid employees. The crux of it is that when the ratio gets too wide, say from 1:10 to 1:100 or even 1:1,000 (with the 1 representing payroll and the second number representing gross profits), then the company falls into a higher tax bracket. So they either pay it to their employees or to the Feds, and the bar is set so that its a much sweeter deal to simply increase employee wages rather than pay a higher tax rate. This approach, instead of an across-the-board minimum wage increase, protects smaller businesses while making sure that grossly profitable companies disperse some of that wealth to the people who are actually earning that money for them. What do you think?

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy 7 years 5 weeks ago
#3

It sure was! Just like letting 911 happen and buying up 94% of our media. Karl Rove has the key steps to fascism in his rear view mirror and to further the Nazi party agenda in his sights.

On a side, I just wrote the Prez about his comment, some police depts. have picked up bad habbits, over time...

http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836 Bad habits? It's a conspiracy to hire those that would easily violate our civil rights! It allows a safe haven for sociopaths! I don't want to pay these social misfits to protect me! They won't!

atchelka's picture
atchelka 7 years 5 weeks ago
#4

This assault on the middle class and working class has always been a GOP strategy. Read Republican and historian Kevin Phillips' book "Politics of the Rich and Poor." He also wrote "The Republican Majority" and "Bush Dynasty: Politics and Deceit in the House of Bush." The rightwing pro-corporate judges created by George W. Bush, including in the Supreme Court have robbed us of voting rights and allowed the wealthy to essentially buy our elections and our legislators, including sadly President Obama. While I believe he has tried to do some good, his constant appointment of Wall Streeters to positions in government, his support of all NAFTA style agreements which sent millions of our jobs overseas, have all hurt the average working American. Of course, it would have been worse with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan--just look at Ryan's budget which gives more tax breaks to millionaires like himself (about $200,000 a year) at the same time he's trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Voting does matter...vote Progressive for people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Wall Street would not hate Warren so much unless they feared her!

atchelka's picture
atchelka 7 years 5 weeks ago
#5

That may be true for small businesses, but currently CEOs get stock options as part of their pay package (that used to be illegal because of obvious conflict of interest). As a result CEOs are using company profits to buy back company stock and thereby improve their own bottom line at the expense of raising worker wages and investing in research and development for their own companies. It is well known that these CEOs are actually destroying the companies they run, but they don't care because they have inflated salaries, benefits and golden parachutes. A great book to read on this is investigative reporter Ellen E. Schultz' "Retirement Heist."

DrRichard 7 years 5 weeks ago
#6

Well you can see it in industry after industry, whether by accident or design, the smallholders are forced to either merge or leave. Farmers, truckers, physicians, pharmacists, shopkeepers, the independents in these and many other professions are under increasing pressure to "Walmartize", either joining larger much organizations, selling their assets, or just closing their doors. The result is not exactly a nation of serfs in some neo-feudalist way, but it is a pretty close modern approximation.

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 7 years 5 weeks ago
#7

In Santa Cruz CA our new parks and rec administrator receivede a salary of over $200,000 w/million dollar pension. Compare that to our teachers and staff who are now forced to teach with over 30 students per class. The parks adm designed new color dots to appear on our downtown streets. If someone who looks homeless is caught on the wrong color dot they get a ticket. If they sleep in a public place they get a ticket. If they urinate in the woods. How does a homelss senior walk to a public urinal in the morning? Homeless vets are being arrested for smoking a cigarette in the wrong place. This is how our society honors our vets? We burden homeless people with tickets then incarcerate them when they can't pay. The cost is over $2,000 a month to keep them in jail for being poor. We must sleep to live. We have a right to life. Give homeless safe harbor to sleep, without fear of tazer, incarceration, from being mugged and molested. Are they not citizens too? This is what awaits us when we loose our jobs.

Republican sociopaths and their lack of human empathy combined with the apathy of the new millineums will doom our society. It is time for the second bill of rights. Home ownership for single income families that are energy independent and water efficient.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 5 weeks ago
#8

Two thirds of Mr. Hartman's analysis is correct: that "the destruction of the working class has all been by design," and that "more and more Americans are viewed as 'disposable' by those at the top." I have been saying this in Outside Agitator's Notebook (my blog, for which Google), since 2010. Indeed -- particularly when one understands the true (and truly evil) nature of capitalism -- it is the only conclusion possible.

But the final third of Mr. Hartman's analysis -- "we can take back our economy and make it work for all of us" -- is delusional thinking, a variant of the same intellectually paralyzing, psychologically cruel falsehood asserted by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: that "the arc of the moral universe...bends toward justice." As any serious student of history knows, this is PollyAnna self-deception at its most hurtfully devastating. Moments of "justice" in our species' 100,000 years of existence are but rare and random sparks in an infinity of darkness.

And now, as capitalism fulfills the savagery implicit in its patriarchal origin and matures into 21st Century forms of Nazism, the darkness is truly forever, perpetuated by technology that gives the ruling class the omnipotence formerly attributed only to gods. There will be no new Grand Alliance to defend us, as there was from 1939 to 1945. There will be no Red Army to rescue us from the terminal malevolence of capitalism. We -- we the Working Class people of the world -- are abandoned and alone and powerless and without hope as never before in our species' experience.

Even were we to foment a successful resistance, we would lose. While the reasons for our vulnerability are many (and surely include the moral imbecility in which we have all of us in every caste and at every socioeconomic level been conditioned by the dogmas of Ayn Rand), the most obvious mechanism of our loss is the looming thermonuclear war the U.S. Ruling Class is deliberately provoking by its effort to steal the Ukraine from Russia.

Given the realities of Moron Nation, I gravely doubt genuine humanitarian change is even conceivable, much less possible. But were such a movement to miraculously emerge, the Ruling Class would merely start a war to ensure the movement's suppression. Again, this is history, a pattern of oppression traceable at least to ancient Rome. But now such a war is likely to have the concurrent purpose of eliminating the "disposable" population -- those of us who, because of automation and other capitalist efficiencies including the re-imposition of slavery, are no longer exploitable for profit.

The Ruling Class can gleefully provoke such a war because its members are protected from the associated horrors. The aristocrats, the One Percenters, have the radiation-proof bunkers and the food supplies and the medicine to ensure their survival, while we the people have nothing at all. And obviously this is by design. The Ruling Class has been demanding global population reduction at least since the 1960s, and now in various world crises (especially in Ukraine) is its long-awaited opportunity: nuke the planet, kill off 70 to 90 percent of all human life and remake the remnants into an Ayn Rand paradise of masters and slaves -- an electronically policed global concentration camp that will prevail until H. sapiens sapiens is no more.

That is what is being done to us. We are a doomed species on a planet we ourselves have slain. There is no longer any power in the universe that can rescue us. Were I a praying man -- were I not certain there is no one to whom to pray -- I would give thanks for being old and pray I am dead before the horrors I foresee become our sole reality.

oneworldatpeace's picture
oneworldatpeace 7 years 5 weeks ago
#9

I've been calling him President Staus Quobama because I figured anybody that held a job at the home of Milton Freidmans Market Fundamentalism U of Chicago had to be neutered to social realities.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 5 weeks ago
#10

Hello Loren! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 5 weeks ago
#11

Likewise to you, Alice: Merry Solstice, Happy New Year.

PFNELKAK 7 years 5 weeks ago
#12

Lorin; If you believe in Jesus and the bible, we will have the
final victory. All that can love, as Jesus has loved us, will have
that victory. The last 2 chapters of the bible are my hope. Get
to know him before it is too late. The end of the this world is
about to start. see psalm 34-8&17,18,19

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 5 weeks ago
#13

think it wasn't quite so deliberate. Much of this is the inevitable result of deindustrialization - which is the result of the decline of colonial empire. The oil embargo of 1973, Arab and other oil producing countries nationalizing their oil industries, was the final push to send manufacturing first out from American cities, then, out of the United States in the '70s. Everything then flowed from there.
Cities then became gentrified as manufacturing was the tax base for cities and states and the new tax base had to be property taxes and fines. Jobs were not as good as the manufacturing sector had been well organized (a main reason for the capital flight in the first place) and the service sector was not.
Maybe it was deliberate but it wasn't new. Only what they've been trying to do forever. Just rolling back the New Deal, trying to bring us back to the period of Upton Sinclair novels.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 5 weeks ago
#14

Mr. Saulys, the present-day reduction of the U.S. Working Class to de facto slavery has been a conscious purpose of the U.S. Ruling Class at least since the Bankers Plot of 1934. Moreover, it was foreseen by Marxians -- implicitly by Marx and Engels, explicitly by Lenin -- decades before that.

In this context, remember that just as capitalism is a direct derivative of patriarchy, so are fascism and Nazism not only direct derivatives of capitalism, but also capitalism's final, mature forms.

The quintessence of capitalism -- a hideous truth easily obscured until Ayn Rand made it obvious via her fictionalizations of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) -- is the elevation of infinite greed to maximum virtue. This of course requires not only the conscious rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth, but also the deliberate embrace of moral imbecility -- that is, of absolute evil. From this choice is derived capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us -- the ethos by which we are now ruled.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 5 weeks ago
#15

It has been their purpose long before that and they had effected it for most of American history. It's capitalism in its unadulterated form, the New Deal was the anomaly. The self styled capitalist purists and free marketeers - Kochs and such with their dupes and suckasses - of our period pine for those days before the ND.

Stella Jane's picture
Stella Jane 7 years 5 weeks ago
#16

Feed ALL children worldwide for ONE MILLION $$$ per each BILLION spent on WAR.

FIGHTING costs WAY MORE than FEEDING !!

Feed ALL children Educate ALL people to feed themselves and others

Our RIGHT is to establish ideal human habitat; our DUTY for 7 generations. ALL kept as PUBLIC BENEFIT controlled only by real HUMANS, on GAIA our living planet.

FOOD CEREMONIES generate PEACEFUL COMMUNICATION

Gather in fields: the congregation.

Plant seeds: the ceremony.

PRAY during the growing/watering.

Share WORLDWIDE: the communion.

Peace n Planting ===>our true way of life see open group on F'bk

99% feel the same ...... Feed ALL children Educate ALL people

Please BEE REAL -- get a hive going with somebody anywhere!

BEE ProACTIVE aka benefit the 7 generations in all you do!

PS MAKING IT HAPPEN LOCALLY in your neighborhood.

Thought this local action peace plan might be at the heart of our prayers.... we could rent church kitchens and make wonderful BREAKFAST in YOUR POCKET cookies and donated organic milk for school children. Friday night we use the kitchen again to make WHOLE GRAIN PIZZA with ten vegetables and mushrooms. Salad bar too, all organic fresh!

NO MOVIE NIGHTS -- instead there are ten tables with crafts and skills mentors sitting there to help the YOUTH. A great fisherman, a basket maker, leather worker, food preservation teacher and other useful survival skills teachers /life guides.

Create "living rooms" see GREENHOUSE 2020 below....cost $500 with local rough cut lumber & 10mil reinforced cover!

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 7 years 5 weeks ago
#17

Wow! I'm with Stella Jane and DAnne Mark! But women have always been good at finding hope! Greed has no spiritual power! Some of us are old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall was an enormous fact and the USSR was about to blow us up. And look how far we've come! Yes, the Devil will scream harder before it dissolves in a pile of ashes. Remember your very first Sunday School lesson: God is all-Loving, all-Knowing and all-Powerful. That is enough! Merry Christmas, everybody!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 5 weeks ago
#18

Mark J. Saulys and Loren Bliss ~ Wow! You guys are quite heavy. "Drown me in the shallow waters before I get too deep."

I agree with both of you. However, I refuse to let loose of my personal spiritual beliefs that inspire everything I do. I also refuse to go down without a fight. Our world is far older than we have previously believed. I also feel confident that we as a species are far older than we know. We have done all this before my friends. Our collective sense of deja vu cannot be dismissed. Geological evidence cannot be dismissed. We have destroyed ourselves before; yet, somehow, a handful has always survived to repopulate the species and repeat the mistakes in the new paradigm.

I feel confident that this is our doom, to repeat our mistakes endlessly; until we learn to evolve. It certainly won't be easy because the wages of our mistakes make them so irresistible to commit. However, with spiritual guidance I am sure that any obstacle is surmountable. It is the great delusive gift of belief in anything bigger than yourself that makes you capable of acting bigger than yourself. It is the belief in that which is greater than the natural that enables the natural to evolve. Nothing is impossible with belief.

Might I suggest that we spend a little time addressing the problems that face us one at a time with a bit of optimism. You cannot leap a mountain in a single bound. However, if you focus on the few steps in front of you, one at a time, you can leap far further than any mountain in good time, at one step at a time. Determination, patients and faith can be an awesome tool or weapon. At our age, we should know better. Never give up the good fight! Merry Christmas and a very, very Happy New Year to us all.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 5 weeks ago
#19

I havn't been on here that much recently but I have to say it is kinda depressing reading this. It seems you have all given up. What happened to hope and change? Many countries including yours have been a lot worst off and pulled out of it. Living in Alberta Canada home of the oil sands I have to admit I am a little worried myself with oil prices dropping to nothing. I have cut back my spending and are buckling down expecting the worst and hopefully I'll make it through.

In my humble option. One of the reasons the middle class may be shrinking is they have changed. Have you tried to hire anyone lately? There is no good employees left. So anyone who is any good at all excels rapidly through the middle class to the upper class.

Oh well I know by now no one here wants to listen to a far right guy like me so I'll just say happy holidays to you all .

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 5 weeks ago
#20

Things may have to get worse before they get better. Once the very wealthy have bought a much larger portion of our elected officials and after labor has lost everything it has ever gained then the workers will rise up once again like they did in the late 1800s. Labor unions will once again be a dominant force in combating inequality through labor organizing and political action. People can only be pushed down and kept down for so long before they stand up and fight back. It's getting closer and closer to that time. There has been a lot of talk about how low minimum wage and close to minimum wage jobs are not providing enough money for basic necessities. Walmart and McDonald's have been used as examples of these low wage jobs but it's not just large stores and fast food resturantes that provide low wages. Far and wide there are these types of jobs everywhere you look. They are in every facet of the construction industry, in wearhouses, in small stores, in the communications industry, in all types of resturants, in schools, in churches, in small government, and like I said, everywhere. When the working people become so poor that they can no longer support the wealthy by buying their goods and services then the economy will collapse. That is when things will start to turn around for the working class. It doesn't have to happen like that because we can keep it from happening like that by electing those that will stand up to the anti-labor forces. Then the working class will be the dominant class.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 7 years 5 weeks ago
#21

Until we see what the problem IS (and few do), we will remain ONLY symptom solving. Some symptoms get resolved others don't and new symptoms are always being created. Somtimes the new smptoms are old resolved symptoms returning in a new form. A review of history shows us that.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 5 weeks ago
#22
Quote Kend:It seems you have all given up. What happened to hope and change? Many countries including yours have been a lot worst off and pulled out of it. Living in Alberta Canada home of the oil sands I have to admit I am a little worried myself with oil prices dropping to nothing. I have cut back my spending and are buckling down expecting the worst and hopefully I'll make it through.

Kend ~ Well, that makes ONE of us. You are one special guy, I have to admit it. Everyone I know is happier than a pig in excrement over lower gas prices. Perhaps you are a global warming fanatic? A closet environmentalist? I think not!

Quote Kend:In my humble option. One of the reasons the middle class may be shrinking is they have changed. Have you tried to hire anyone lately? There is no good employees left. So anyone who is any good at all excels rapidly through the middle class to the upper class.

Kend ~ "No good employees left"? Really? Last I looked there were a plethora of good employees who could not find work. Educated, skilled motivated and in grave need of work. How different are our countries.

Quote Kend:Oh well I know by now no one here wants to listen to a far right guy like me so I'll just say happy holidays to you all .

Kend ~ Now you're saying something I understand and completely agree with. You sure do know how to make me smile. Happy Holidays buddy!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 5 weeks ago
#23
Quote RFord:When the working people become so poor that they can no longer support the wealthy by buying their goods and services then the economy will collapse. That is when things will start to turn around for the working class. It doesn't have to happen like that because we can keep it from happening like that by electing those that will stand up to the anti-labor forces. Then the working class will be the dominant class.

RFord ~ I certainly hope you are right. Historically, your ascertains certainly are supported. Unfortunately, in a modern Global economy there are other many foreign markets available to take up the slack of a dwindling US market demand. I pray that I'm wrong; however, since all our good paying jobs went... somewhere... I might imagine that the money that went with them, went with them as well. That money represents demand. If demand is no longer in the US, then we former US workers could not be more 'screwed'. (To coin a phrase.)

In my opinion, the course of action that we must pursue is to overturn "Free Trade" at all costs. This is the last nail in the coffin of our democracy and freedom. Unless we reinstate our import tariffs we are destine to become a third world nation; along with, all the third world perks that go along with it. We must unite and stand up. If we do not stand up together, we will surely fall together.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 5 weeks ago
#24

One of the absolute truths of history is that revolutionary change (by which I include its nonviolent manifestations, as in the New Deal) has four prerequisites. These are:

(1)-solidarity -- in other words, a unifying ideology, or at the very least a unifying list of grievances from which a unifying ideology can evolve;

(2)-leadership, which includes the supportive organizational structure and discipline;

(3)-mastery of extant technologies, including military technologies;

(4)-the assistance and/or intervention of a significant foreign power.

Today none of these prerequisites exist in the United States -- nor for that matter anywhere else on this planet. Verily, we live in the darkest most hopeless epoch of our species' existence.

Moreover, history proves the absence of even one of these prerequisites is invariably fatal to significant change. Note for example the failed rebellions suppressed by ancient Rome (most notably the Spartacus uprising and wholesale war waged by Boudicca to free Britain), also the innumerable peasant revolts and other popular uprisings (including the French Revolution of 1789) that have been suppressed during the 15 centuries since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

The very few rebellions that succeeded -- the American Revolution of 1776; the Haitian Revolution of 1791; the Russian Revolution of 1917; the temporary successes of the New Deal; the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s -- all did so because they possessed each of the above attributes, particularly (4). The American Revolution succeeded only because of the support of Imperial France; Haiti was aided variously by Britain and France; the Russian Revolution succeeded only because of the support of Imperial Germany; the New Deal was made possible only by the Ruling Class terror of a Communist revolution supported by the Soviet Union; the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions also succeeded only because of Soviet support.

Indeed even the Indian revolution -- the alleged "success" of which is surely debatable given the religious carnage it has fostered -- would not have ended British rule had Gandhi's pacifism not been backed by the Soviet threat of armed insurrection had he failed.

But there is no such force on the planet today, nor will our Wall Street overlords ever allow such a force to arise again. The Soviet Union is dead, most of its vast land mass now ruled by a government more capitalistic and theocratic than humanitarian, and the Chinese Revolution has been so co-opted by capitalism, it is but another mechanism for oppressing the Working Class: note the lesson of Tinanmen Square.

(True; neither the U.S.S.R. nor the People's Republic of China were ever the workers' and peasants' paradises they claimed to be. But their forcefully stated humanitarian principles -- no matter how often they were self-violated -- nevertheless compelled the capitalists to at least camouflage capitalism's innate malevolence.)

That said, let us now consider prerequisites (1) through (3):

The savagely reflexive anti-intellectuality and Ayn Rand moral imbecility and self-obsession with which the U.S. population has been conditioned since the coup of 22 November 1963 makes solidarity unattainable. The consummate Moron Nation anti-intellectuality prohibits the essential tasks of defining grievances and evolving ideology -- note the internal contradictions that would have destroyed the Occupy Movement even without the oppressive forces of the state -- just as the Randite moral imbecility prohibits the empathy that is essential for collective action. Designed and imposed by the most diabolically sophisticated psychologists in human history, this is not a condition that can ever be ameliorated, much less "cured." Analogy to the sociopathic conditioning given Nazi Germans is entirely apt; once a Nazi, always a Nazi. The same is true -- as the nation is demonstrating in its response to atrocities by militarized police against black males -- of racism: once a racist, always a racist. More to the point -- given that Randite moral imbecility is in its purest capitalist form identical to that of the serial killer -- once a serial killer, always a serial killer.

The same conditioning -- particularly anti-intellectuality reinforced by self-obsession -- prohibits the emergence of any effective leadership and thereby also prohibits the evolution of any effective organizational structure or discipline. As with item (1), the prohibitions against item (2) are (save amongst the fast-dwindling members of older generations) the result of conditioning that began at birth and are therefore effectively eternal.

Apropos item (3), there is on the Left a dangerously seductive and ultimately idiotic falsehood the existence of groups like Anonymous and Wiki-leaks demonstrate mastery of technology. But the ugly truth is the relevant technologies -- the technologies that need to be mastered -- are infinitely more alien to us than firearms were to the First Nations peoples of the Americas. There is, for example, no possible defense against the sonic weapons now being employed by militarized police for crowd control. Nor is there any defense against the secret-police reality of the electronic concentration camp the capitalists have already made of this world.

To date, our most fatal error has been to underestimate the intelligence, cunning and mercilessness of our overlords. We are -- and technically have been since 22 November 1963 -- a conquered people. Were our protests to turn into genuine battles, have no doubt the authorities would respond with every weapon in their inconceivably vast arsenal -- tactical nuclear bombs included. We are governed, as I have said before, by moral imbeciles -- uncannily perceptive men and women who have knowingly embraced evil in a manner that has no precedent in our species' experience.

What then are we to do? An environmentalist friend says it best of all: firstly, recognize that any effort toward widespread societal change is literally doomed at birth and is therefore the most useless, pointless, self-defeating sort of grandiosity. Secondly, work in whatever small ways we can at projects that actually help people improve their lives. My friend teaches people how to garden organically; old (74) and physically disabled, I nevertheless volunteer on such projects as I can. (Yes, I am abandoning any larger political involvements as a waste of whatever time I have left). Thirdly, remember this: from many seemingly insignificant self-help projects come precisely the experience of community that (should our species survive the looming wars and ecological debacles, which I frankly doubt), might foster a small-scale, quasi-tribal rebirth of humanitarian values. These were the wellspring of our collective survival and -- once the present world order has collapsed beneath the weight of its own excesses -- could therefore become so again.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 5 weeks ago
#25

You've eloborated on what I meant by "elect those that will stand up to the anti-labor forces". I'm not talking about just those that are pro-union. I'm talking about those that will do everything possible to provide plenty of good paying jobs in the USA. Changing to trade policies that favor American workers would be very good way. Two of my friends lost their jobs when Japaneese company, Bridgestone, bought American company, Firestone and they closed the Memphis Firestone tire plant. One, a blue collar worker, who ran a floor sweeper got on with Northwest Airlines as a baggage handler and prospered well. The other who was white collar in managment wound up working for temporary agencies. If tarrifs were put on imported tires to the point that imported tires would be too expensive to sell in the USA there would be more good paying jobs making tires in the USA for the USA. That is but an example of the thousands of things that need to be done . The same could go for many other industries. A CEO is usually not a patriot who wants to help his working class countrymen. A CEO pledeges his alligance to the almighty dollar and the working class needs to be protected from him. FED EX, a Memphised based company has many good paying jobs. They even have unionized pilots but the people sorting packages in the hub are all part time workers so CEO Fred Smith doesn't have to pay benefits on them. Except for pilots. any FED EX employee mentioning a union will be fired for some other reason. So says my wife who was a FED EX employee. Getting the right people in office, that's the ticket.

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 7 years 5 weeks ago
#26

You hit the nail on the head there Thom with your statement about winner takes all capitalism .The guiding principles of our culture are that we all seperate from each other and survival of the fittest add this to an economic system that at its core ,and as its purpose has to make a profit .This we call profit survival mentality.

Humans believe that there is not enough to go around so greed, fierce competition and individualism super-seeds the common good or highest good of all remember life is tough billions live in poverty around the planet .

The dominant forces are wealth equals power so ownership of stuff is called being wealthy .So yes the system is rigged because the rich and powerfull created the system based on what they believed about your cultural story ?

What about changing to a system where people can use the stuff of life without having to own it ?

This would be called a Use and Access economic model as opposed to a power and possessions economy.So the first thing we would do is reduce the economy not try and grow it endlessly ? If we began to share and cooperate with each other and redefine wealth as access to the stuff of life and availability .The western model is absurd training everyone to have there own copy of everything and paying enourmous amounts of money to buy the things they hardly use during the time that they own these items.

Two thirds of the planet would love to have use of many products that we individually own in the west.The easiest way to do this is not try and grow the worlds economy attempting for everyone to to able to buy the same stuff but rather create a new economy that gives everyone access to and use of the same things .

And how good would that be for the Ecology of our dying ecosystem ,fewer consumer items produced per person ,people are generally happy when they can get access to and use the things they feel they need and this is wealth.

Hey it's about time we matured as a species .We are being kept in the dark knowledge is power the new spirituality encourages the movement of power from the hands of the select few to the hands of the many .We need to localise our economies through decentralisation take the power back to we the people .

We need to create lots of little economies not one big one as is the case now. And as the gap between the rich and poor accelatates social system's will break down and civility will disappear .

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 7 years 5 weeks ago
#27

I like your analyses Loren but its we the people that hold all the power we just don't want it ,we have traded it for safety,survival and responsibility .When enough folks see that they are voting for there own demise they will say enough and the power holders will change .

The world is beginning to awake from its millenia sleep our culture is about to write a new story based on what is so not based from old books or older cultural myths which where based on fallacy.

The new frontiers of science and the wisest of spiritual understandings have met at the crossroads ! We are at the Threshold of a new universal human and planet that understands we are all ONE .

Critical mass is arising and will soon have a ripple effect on our whole way of life .We will put in place new guiding principles for humanity that we are not seperate from each other and there is enough to go around for all of us .

The next 10-20 years are the most important it's like a birthing process to move from a primitive understanding to one of a more highly evolved state all beings in the universe move through this stage .Its just humans are so stubborn and cling to there old mistaken beliefs about life and what we are all doing here .So change on this planet is very slow and is killing us .We had better change fast I agree but you can only do that through what you believe as beliefs create behaviours that's why Organised Religion is the problem not the solution.

hankgagnon's picture
hankgagnon 7 years 5 weeks ago
#28

One that was forgotten here:

In the 1980's the Reagan Administration eliminated the tax deduction for Credit Card Interest. We were sold it by the banksters and the Right Wing elitistist that mostly the wealthy posessesed credit cards. But their design to take down wages and give us easy credit to lessen the blow all at once but gradually it would make sure average people would would go into debt just to stay afloat and maintain their current living status as our wages were attacked, and our jobs were shipped out of the country. The banksters are borrowing money at less than 1% now issuing credit cards, and raising credit card rates to people with really good credit to well into the mid 20% levels. And it's legal. That use to be called loan sharking. But as usual the Right wing bankster hypicrits still call it loan sharking only for lower level loan issuers or lower class people who threaten to eat some of their profits.

pythagosaurus's picture
pythagosaurus 7 years 5 weeks ago
#29

By design? no...classes of people, as do individuals in any class, have only themselves to blame for their condition. History repeats itself often enough to serve as a warning, a too often ignored warning.

Every advertisement is a lie. Every sales pitch is first and foremost presented to benefit the seller. America's middle class sold itself to debt- gotta have a bigger house than necessary, a better car, insurance, pharmaceuticals, surround sound maxsize flatscreen, phone apps, prisons to alleviate my fear of someone whom I've been told to be afraid (add your own distraction that keeps your neighbor from considering the local and global consequences of his choices).

My favorite example arises every time there is a third party nominee for an elected public service position. I hear this too often: "Sure! he/she makes a lot of sense and I agree with their vision, but they have no chance of winning the election, so I must vote for someone with a [poll determined] chance."

We get what we pay for. e.g. states spend more energy on STEM programs and testing than programs that require critical thinking - programs necessary to insure the continuation of current corporate priorities.

Now, give your kid a pill and tell him to settle down and pay attention. We either want him to buy our next techno-gadget or develop our next next techno-gadget.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 5 weeks ago
#30

I don't believe they plotted to destroy the middle class. I do believe they took every advantage to acquire as much money as the system would allow, with no particular interest or goal set for how it would effect us. We're just collateral damage.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 5 weeks ago
#31

Reply to #27: HT, I like your perspective because it gives me just a glimmer of hope. Loren could be right; we could be headed right for the abyss, just a blink away from falling through that big black hole into eternal oblivion where extinction awaits us. However I prefer to hold onto the fantasy that at some point enough people will wake up so that collectively, we can give Humpty Dumpty the ole heave-ho and get on with life. It might not be based on reality, and I might not live to see it, but at least it keeps me getting out of bed in the morning. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 5 weeks ago
#32

Willie W, I respectfully disagree.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 5 weeks ago
#33

Aliceinwonderland ~ (Reply to #31) I couldn't have said it better myself. I certainly hope you are right; and, definitely feel the same way.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 7 years 5 weeks ago
#34

I think Willie W is right, more or less. Yes, there are schemes and machination to control us, but it's more about indifference than deliberate attacks against American society. I do believe the vast majority of Americans are deliberately undermined, but that's just a byproduct of a state capitalist system. Keep the consumers buying and not thinking . I am not sure who said it first, I heard it from Gore Vidal, paraphrasing - it ain't hate that's the opposite of love, it's indifference.

ChicagoMatt 7 years 5 weeks ago
#35

As always, I think Thom has some good points, but is missing some other points.

For example, what about the push for every student to go to college? By the time I was in high school 20 years ago, the rule was EVERY student needs to go to college. Now, even having a 4-year degree is considred "basic". I had to get my M.A. in order to get a good position. With so many way over-qualified people in the job market, the regular schmoes don't stand a chance. Like many of you (I suspect), I have friends with B.A.s who have given up looking for jobs in their fields, and are working their way up the retail ladder now, having been in a retail position for so long.

The destruction of the traditional family goes hand-in-hand with the destruction of the middle class, either as a result of, or a factor of, each other. Think about everyone you know who is still in the middle class: how many are still with their first spouse? A signficantly higher proportion than your lower-class friends, most likely. Either a lack of money causes family strife (possible), or family strife causes a lack of money (also possible). But there is no denying that it is much easier to get and stay in the middle class if you're also in a stable relationship.

Also, an interesting side-note about credit card debt: During my college orientation in the late 90s, Visa gave us all free Cubs tickets if we signed up for a credit card. Of course we all did. And, being 18 and stupid, I ran up a balance quickly. They kept upping my limits, I kept paying as much as I could. But now, almost 20 years later, and with an excellent income, I still have a hard time getting out of credit card debt. I still have that same Visa account from college - with a limit high enough to buy a new car outright. It's just a fact of life for me and my friends - never carry cash, charge everything, and expect to have a balance month-to-month.

Smart move on Visa's part - getting us so young.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 5 weeks ago
#36
Quote Loren Bliss:

One of the absolute truths of history is that revolutionary change (by which I include its nonviolent manifestations, as in the New Deal) has four prerequisites. These are:

(1)-solidarity -- in other words, a unifying ideology, or at the very least a unifying list of grievances from which a unifying ideology can evolve;

(2)-leadership, which includes the supportive organizational structure and discipline;

(3)-mastery of extant technologies, including military technologies;

(4)-the assistance and/or intervention of a significant foreign power.

Today none of these prerequisites exist in the United States -- nor for that matter anywhere else on this planet. Verily, we live in the darkest most hopeless epoch of our species' existence.

Loren Bliss ~ You have certainly laid out an airtight argument. I must say that I have to agree with every word. However, I too am motivated by keeping hope alive; so, I hope you don't mind me challenging your conclusion a bit. Revolutionary change aside there is one more factor that can be involved to effect regime change. I feel compelled to add one little detail I think you left out... (5)-An unforeseen--natural or otherwise--element of fate. Although such an ingredient isn't necessary for a straight up successful rebellion to occur, such an ingredient can easily help to forment regime change; and, when you get down to it, that is all a rebellion is really designed to do anyway.

There are natural examples of this occurring throughout history. Ancient floods for example have lead to the toppling of empires and the relocation of nations. Famines, drought and pestilence have also toppled empires without the use of hands or swords. Pompeii was destroyed by a volcano. Sodom and Gomorrah allegedly by asteroids. Egypt by droughts, and floods.

Internal gluttony and moral depravity destroyed Rome. The thousand year Third Reich fell by underestimating the tenacity of the Russian people. The unstoppable army of Napoleon was devastated by cold weather. The mighty Native American tribes that inhabited the East Coast and successfully fought off an invasion by the Viking army were erased from the map with a plague; an enemy too small for them even to perceive.

Today we are aware of the potential threat of a plethora of game changers that could occur at any moment. Through Geology we know of earthquake faults in very vulnerable places. Through Climate Science we are aware of the potential for world wide floods and famines from our own use of fossil fuels. Through the science of Helioseismology we are aware of solar flares and their potentially deadly impact on our power grids. Through Astronomy we are aware of the potential for a space rock to suddenly cause disaster on a global scale; and, our inability to properly predict it coming in time to prepare. Any one of these unknown potential threats could have a devastating effect on our political paradigm and change the current regime in the blinking of an eye.

Yet, all these unknown potential elements pale in significance to the known ones of today. In the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa is a volcanic island with a mountain teetering on collapsing into the ocean. It is estimated that all it would take is a small seismic event or eruption to trigger the fall. Once that is done, a mega tsunami will be released that is estimated to destroy the East coast of the United States. It is not a question of if it will happen, it is a question of when it will happen.

The national park of Yellowstone in Wyoming, the heartland of America, is the caldera of a Super Volcano that is well overdue for eruption. The event would leave the planet in a nuclear winter for several years and blanket most of our nation under several miles of volcanic ash. It would destroy our crops, lead to a famine, kill millions with inhalation of volcanic gases, and destroy our infrastructure. It is not a question as to if it will happen, it is a question of when it will happen.

One little planet changing natural disaster has already happened in March of 2011. An earthquake off the shore of Japan and the resultant tsunami destroyed several nuclear power plants at Fukushima. Ever since then the plants have been releasing several million gallons of radiated water into the ocean. Some scientist have claimed that this disaster could eventually render our hemisphere of the planet uninhabitable. Of course, the true results remain to be seen; however, they don't look good.

All natural and foreseeable elements considered, perhaps the wildest card in the mix is human behavior. Although true to some extent that human behavior is natural and therefore understandable and predictable using the scientific method, there are so many variables involved that it is almost impossible to predict under all circumstances possible. It has been my personal observation that any given human--regardless of education or personal mental disabilities--will display some skill or talent unique to them. It also has been my observation that given a big enough challenge that people will form strong unifying bonds almost instantly without asking questions, in order to overcome the challenge.

The other factor of human behavior that is highly unpredictable is environment. In an ever changing environment some people have a Darwinistic advantage over others. Surely a Billionaire with many resources at their disposal and a society that is rigged to support those resources is no match for the average man on the street. However, if you were to take that Billionaire out of their mansion and put them on the street, suddenly they become as vulnerable as anyone else on the street. Perhaps even more so because they lack the street smarts that the people who live on the street have developed over time as a matter of survival. Environment alone can mean everything. A great white shark flopping around on the plains would become a quick meal to a tiger. However, the situation would be reversed quickly if that tiger found himself flopping around in the ocean.

As far as prevailing technology is concerned the one thing I've learned from history is that everyone at anytime in history is falsely convinced that they know everything. If the history of technology has taught us anything it should be that the more we learn the less we know. If this simple paradox is not true then why do we spend Billions of dollars every year on super colliders and space telescopes? The more we learn, the more we know we don't know. One thing I think is certain is that we will never know everything there is to know. I do not believe in an infallible technology. As a technician somewhat versed in state of the art technologies as well as the their evolution I can assure you that the more complex any technology is, the more vulnerabilities it has.

Considering what we know, and history, I don't think it is wise to underestimate people or discount future events. If history tells us anything, some of the biggest losers in history owe their defeats to doing just that. As my mother used to say, "Things always have a way of working themselves out." She was usually right.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 5 weeks ago
#37

" How many times must a citizen look up before they can really see the sky?????"

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 4 weeks ago
#38

Chicago Matt, the destruction of the middle class coincides with the prevalence of the wearing of blue jeans but I don't think one caused the other. The traditional family is no stronger in Western European countries that continue to have a strong middle class.
There's nothing wrong with education but college is now just a source of debt as banksters have learned to game the system. Unlike before, the middle class is out of reach for anyone without higher education. Labor is now very weak.
Indebting Americans is a good example of the willful and deliberate destruction of the middle class.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 3 weeks ago
#39

Reply to #35: Chicago Matt says Visa is "smart" to be seducing all these inexperienced young people into their big-ass Debt Trap. What you call smart, I call sleazy.

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy 6 years 51 weeks ago
#40

Alice in la la land

Mitch McConnell: We Will Stop "Liberal Onslaught"

Our Constitution is a social, liberal contract. need I say more?

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