The Nature of Greed
We all strive for the American dream. In America, it is understood that one of our basic rights is to freely achieve success and reap the rewards of our labor. We often focus on the actual labor, education, and drive that led to, for instance, a banker's success. But along the way, this banker received government assistance or was directly effected by those who did. Perhaps the grandparent that inspired him and challenged him was on medicare. Or maybe the teachers of his public grade school were all happy members of the middle class, actually able to live a decent lifestyle that enabled them to be great teachers. At what point did we, as Americans decide that it's every man for themselves? Let's be honest, there is no proof that the trickle down theory actually works. Actually, it's fairly evident that it doesn't work given the current state of our economy. Lately I've felt so helpless and angry about the current state of our government that I contacted a friend who works in politics, asking him what to do. But unfortunately, even he was at a loss as to what the average American citizen could do. He told me that
The biggest issues of our time are the wealth gaps in the U.S. (the distance in wealth between the top 1% and the bottom, or even the middle 50% of income earners) and the explosive costs of health care, college, retirement and child care. While all of these things have gone up exponentially, middle class incomes have essentially been stagnant since 1978. The only way to deal with this is through taxation and re-distribution of some of the wealthiest American's money to provide services for the middle class, let alone the poor. Unfortunately, our elected leaders of both Parties appear unwilling to come together to work on these issues.
American corporations right now are collectively sitting on $1 trillion in liquid cash but aren't willing to spend it on hiring because of two factors: [lack of consumer demand and technology taking away jobs from humans]
In other words, the wealthy are sitting on a disproportionate, huge pile of wealth, that they are not necessarily spending in America, in ways that are NOT trickling down - while the middle class and poor are left to uncomfortably hang. Our attempts to reprimand this guy ---> and tell him to lose some weight failed. So now we need a very strong figure to swoop in and push down on the seesaw from the other end, putting the selfish bully in their place. If not, who knows what will happen? Will the guy hanging suddenly fight back with more anger and violence than the bully could have ever dreamed of? My friend pointed out that throughout history,
when wealth has stratified to the top the way it is now and unemployment has been as widespread as it currently is, there have usually been conflicts of historic proportions that have resolved it. World War II, Nazis, the fall of the Roman Empire, etc. come to mind.
So countless articles have been written about how history may repeat itself. Are we going to sit by and watch it happen? Is it already happening with the London riots? Will we head into yet another war? Or will we show that we've learned from our mistakes and have evolved beyond greed and bipartisan politics to actually care about the health of our entire nation, recognizing that we're all connected?