I was a little worried at the direction this thread took from the beginning, but I am impressed, yet not surprised at the calm intelligent conversation that progressed.
There is no question that there is a serious disconnect between the haves and have nots in this country. There is also avery clear disconnect between those who are running things, and those who are governed. It is unfortunate. Anarchy is not the answer. A dictatorsip is also no answer. "Of the people, by the people and for the people" has become The people shall be led by the ruling class. Can an average middle class person even run for president?
Currently our economy is directed by cheap
imported products, meant to appeal to those who have a hope of saving enough to reach the American dream. It is also severely effected by the outsourcing of jobs, including semi skilled positions, to countries who have a much lower standard of living.
So, what is the answer? I happen to lean towards Socialism when it comes to human rights. Food
, shelter, and medical
care are basic human rights that should not be refused any person on the planet, and in my opinion, it is criminal to do so. Capitalism has it's good side. I enjoy knowing that I can have more than I need if I choose to work for it. But, those things are becoming increasingly out of reach. When the general standard of living becomes so high that the lower standards are out of reach for a large majority, it is not a matter of "Keeping up with the Jones'", but a matter of keeping the heat on. In this area, there are no homes for sale
under $325000. To qualify for a loan for one of these homes, and these are not in desireable neighborhoods, you would need to make over $100000 per year. The large majority of jobs in this area are paying well below that. The people who would live in such neighborhoods, are generally in the $35000-$50000 salary range. Now for the crux of the issue. This means that in order to have a basic house, in a less than desireable neighborhood, you will need two average incomes. With the current
abusive practices that most employers exibit, it becomes necessary for a couple to dedicate an average of 50 hours per week to their jobs. If they have decided to have a family
, who takes care of the kids
? And, what do they have left after working 8 hours, and commuting 2 hours? And, this is just to break even. Then add to that the fact that these $15 an hour jobs generally don't offer health
coverage. So, how much is health
coverage for a famiy of 4? If you are paying less than $1000 a month, you are getting a deal. It is criminal to allow investors to come in, raise housing values to an intangible level, then those same investors, also turn out to be the local employers, and refuse to pay a living wage so that the victims of this false inflation can have a standard of living.
Back to the outsourcing issue. It is pretty bad when people from "Super Power" countries are moving to "Third World" countires so that they can make a living. It is becoming common place for EU residents to move to India
The frightening effect is that those who attempt to hang on and produce quality domestic products, can not compete. Finding skilled labor who will work for $8 an hour is not going to happen. It is a far more complex problem than I can solve, but as long as people tolerate the production and sales of inferior products from China
or wherever, and as long as we, as a nation, continue to allow the disconnect between the haves and have nots to dictate our lives, we are screwed.
I admit I do not understand the attitude of the IPod generation. I have lived off the grid. I have managed to live off whatever I had, and yes, I have often lived beyond my means, but when all you purchase
for the week is gas and groceries, and on Friday, you have to put the gas on a credit card to get to work, there is a problem. Is it really unrealistic to expect to have a roof over your head
, food on your table, and the ability to go to a doctor when you are sick if you work 40 hours a week, and have a decent education? FWIW, in Northern California
, if you are not making over six figures, you can forget entering the housing market. You can forget weekends at the lake. You can forget having anything in your life beyond dying at your desk. Like anything, there are work arounds, but the sacrifice is not reasonable. How can anyone reasonably expected to live their life commuting 4 hours a day, in a car that is questionably reliable at best? And, the job market does not support the cost of living in most urban areas. How does that make any sense?
Get what you pay for? You would think, but the dark side of capitalism is you do not always get what you pay for. You get what you were sold. If people had the integrity to stand behind their products, and the pride to care about the name they attached to those products, it wouldn't matter if it was from China
I like the pile of sand analogy. Absolutely. This represents the current
lack of responsibility that most manufacturers feel for the products they produce. Is the first question a company asks before launching a new product "Will it work?", or is it "What will our liability be?" I think the latter. It is a problem with society as a whole, but society is led by the actions of it's government
. Since, as a result of human nature, greed will always rear it's ugly head
, it is necessary for a responsible government
to intervene. It is necessary for a responsible government to say "You have to pay people enough to live where they work". "You have to provide health care
for these people", "Your products have to live up to your representation". Unfortunately, our current leadersip is more along the lines of "From our perspective, everyone should be able to live on $6.25 an hour", and "You have to warn people that your product might hurt them".
And, for the sake of making this boat/cruising related, Those of us who have chosen to live on a boat rather than a studio apartment in the inner city, and who hope to take off and cruise
on a shoe string, are not doing so as a result of the american dream, but in spite of it.