The U.S. economy is in dire straits. Americans can tell something is wrong, but they can’t put their finger on what the problem is. Our country was once a leader in productive manufacturing and industrial textiles, but now we have been relegated to a “service economy” where we make nothing of value. How did we get ourselves in this position? What has caused us to become so helpless?
Some Americans have been able to maintain their former standard of living the 2%ers, but our whole nation is living on the back of mounting debt. This is unsustainable and will ultimately lead to the total collapse of our economy if nothing is done to stop it. The debt is not even the problem as much as what we are spending our money on: endless wars, cheap imports and massive amounts of foreign oil and many other frivolous spending such as cocaine toads and drunk Japanese hookers.
Our leaders have no plan to stop this (especially the drunk hookers). They talk about small savings like cutting PBS or farm subsidies while ignoring the big issues. America is no longer a democracy; it is a plutocracy – run by the rich for the rich. The interests of average Americans are no longer taken into account when making policy decisions.
Campaigns are getting longer and more expensive, and this means politicians are more beholden to their donors than ever before. Because of this relationship our leaders push disastrous free trade on the American people. Outsourcers make huge sums from these deals, while the middle class, our politicians claim to champion, falls farther behind.
How can we expect to have a vibrant, growing economy when our workers lose their jobs to overseas competition, leaving them without money to buy even the cheap imports that flood this country?
“Free Trade” policies and the World Trade Organization have put us in this disadvantageous position. These policies have gutted our manufacturing base and made it advantageous for companies to pick up and move overseas rather than produce in the United States. They are pushed for by the outsourcers who are getting rich off the deals.
These individuals and corporations fund the campaigns of our leaders in Washington, and get what they want in return – more “free trade.” Especially with Israel.
We need to reverse this course or in only a few short years we may not recognize America any longer. We need to reform the way our elections are run by repealing Citizens United and getting money out of politics.
We must stop all free trade agreements and establish fair trading relationships that work for the American people, not a few special interests. These things are crucial, and must be done as soon as possible if we want America to be the great country it once was.
Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed. Was it an inevitable process – or was it engineered by self-interested elites?
Youngstown, Ohio was once a thriving steel center. Now, the industry has all gone and the city is full of abandoned homes and businesses. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
In or around 1978, America’s character changed. For almost half a century, the United States had been a relatively egalitarian, secure, middle-class democracy, with structures in place that supported the aspirations of ordinary people. You might call it the period of the Roosevelt Republic. Wars, strikes, racial tensions, and youth rebellion all roiled national life, but a basic deal among Americans still held. This was in belief if not always in fact: work hard, follow the rules, educate your children, and you will be rewarded, not just with a decent life and the prospect of a better one for your kids, but with recognition from society, a place at the table.
This unwritten contract came with a series of riders and clauses that left large numbers of Americans – black people and other minorities, women, gay people – out, or only halfway in. But the country had the tools to correct its own flaws, and it used them: healthy democratic institutions such as Congress, courts, churches, schools, news organizations, business-labor partnerships. The civil rights movement of the 1960s was a nonviolent mass uprising led by black southerners, but it drew essential support from all of these institutions, which recognized the moral and legal justice of its claims, or, at the very least, the need for social peace. The Roosevelt Republic had plenty of injustice, but it also had the power of self-correction.
Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish, and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic. But the institutions of American democracy, stronger than the excesses of individuals, were usually able to contain and channel them to more useful ends. Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did.
At the time, the late 1970s felt like shapeless, dreary, forgettable years. Jimmy Carter was in the White House, preaching austerity and public-spiritedness, and hardly anyone was listening. The hideous term “stagflation”, which combined the normally opposed economic phenomena of stagnation and inflation, perfectly captured the doldrums of that moment. It is only with the hindsight of a full generation that we can see how many things were beginning to shift across the American landscape, sending the country spinning into a new era.
In Youngstown, Ohio, the steel mills that had been the city’s foundation for a century closed, one after another, with breathtaking speed, taking 50,000 jobs from a small industrial river valley, leaving nothing to replace them. In Cupertino, California, the Apple Computer Company released the first popular personal computer, the Apple II. Across California, voters passed
Proposition 13, launching a tax revolt that began the erosion of public funding for what had been the country’s best school system. In Washington, corporations organized themselves into a powerful lobby that spent millions of dollars to defeat the kind of labor and consumer bills they had once accepted as part of the social contract. Newt Gingrich came to Congress as a conservative Republican with the singular ambition to tear it down and build his own and his party’s power on the rubble. On Wall Street, Salomon Brothers pioneered a new financial product called mortgage-backed securities, and then became the first investment bank to go public.
The large currents of the past generation – deindustrialization, the flattening of average wages, the financialisation of the economy, income inequality, the growth of information technology, the flood of money into Washington, the rise of the political right – all had their origins in the late 70s. The US became more entrepreneurial and less bureaucratic, more individualistic and less communitarian, freer and less equal, more tolerant and less fair. Banking and technology, concentrated on the coasts, turned into engines of wealth, replacing the world of stuff with the world of bits, but without creating broad prosperity, while the heartland hollowed out. The institutions that had been the foundation of middle-class democracy, from public schools and secure jobs to flourishing newspapers and functioning legislatures, were set on the course of a long decline. It as a period that I call the Unwinding.
In one view, the Unwinding is just a return to the normal state of American life. By this deterministic analysis, the US has always been a wide-open, free-wheeling country, with a high tolerance for big winners and big losers as the price of equal opportunity in a dynamic society. If the US brand of capitalism has rougher edges than that of other democracies, it is worth the trade-off for growth and mobility. There is nothing unusual about the six surviving heirs to the Walmart fortune possessing between them the same wealth as the bottom 42% of Americans – that’s the country’s default setting. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are the reincarnation of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, Steven Cohen is another JP Morgan, Jay-Z is Jay Gatsby.
The rules and regulations of the Roosevelt Republic were aberrations brought on by accidents of history – The Depression, World War, The Cold War – that induced Americans to surrender a degree of freedom in exchange for security. There would have been no Glass-Steagall Act, separating commercial from investment banking, without the bank failures of 1933; no great middle-class boom if the US economy had not been the only one left standing after the second World War; no bargain between business, labor and government without a shared sense of national interest in the face of foreign enemies; no social solidarity without the door to immigrants remaining closed through the middle of the century.
Once American pre-eminence was challenged by international competitors, and the economy hit rough seas in the 70s, and the sense of existential threat from abroad subsided, the deal was off. Globalization, technology and immigration hurried the Unwinding along, as inexorable as winds and tides. It is sentimental at best, if not ahistorical, to imagine that the social contract could ever have survived – like wanting to hang on to a world of nuclear families and manual typewriters.
This deterministic view is undeniable but incomplete. What it leaves out of the picture is human choice. A fuller explanation of the Unwinding takes into account these large historical influences, but also the way they were exploited by US elites – the leaders of the institutions that have fallen into disrepair. America’s postwar responsibilities demanded co-operation between the two parties in Congress, and when the cold war waned, the co-operation was bound to diminish with it. But there was nothing historically determined about the poisonous atmosphere and demonizing language that Gingrich and other conservative ideologues spread through US politics. These tactics served their narrow, short-term interests, and when the Gingrich revolution brought Republicans to power in Congress, the tactics were affirmed. Gingrich is now a has-been, but Washington today is as much his city as anyone’s.
It was impossible for Youngstown’s steel companies to withstand global competition and local disinvestment, but there was nothing inevitable about the aftermath – an unmanaged free-for-all in which unemployed workers were left to fend for themselves, while corporate raiders bought the idle hulks of the mills with debt in the form of junk bonds and stripped out the remaining value. It may have been inevitable that the constraints imposed on US banks by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 would start to slip off in the era of global finance. But it was a political choice on the part of Congress and President Bill Clinton to deregulate Wall Street so thoroughly that nothing stood between the big banks and the destruction of the economy.
Much has been written about the effects of globalization during the past generation. Much less has been said about the change in social norms that accompanied it. American elites took the vast transformation of the economy as a signal to rewrite the rules that used to govern their behavior: a senator only resorting to the filibuster on rare occasions; a CEO limiting his salary to only 40 times what his average employees made instead of 800 times; a giant corporation paying its share of taxes instead of inventing creative ways to pay next to zero. There will always be isolated lawbreakers in high places; what destroys morale below is the systematic corner-cutting, the rule-bending, the self-dealing.
Earlier this year, Al Gore made $100m (£64m) in a single month by selling Current TV to Al-Jazeera for $70m and cashing in his shares of Apple stock for $30m. Never mind that Al-Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, whose oil exports and views of women and minorities make a mockery of the ideas that Gore propounds in a book or film every other year. Never mind that his Apple stock came with his position on the company’s board, a gift to a former presidential contender. Gore used to be a patrician politician whose career seemed inspired by the ideal of public service. Today – not unlike Tony Blair – he has traded on a life in politics to join the rarefied class of the global super-rich.
It is no wonder that more and more Americans believe the game is rigged. It is no wonder that they buy houses they cannot afford and then walk away from the mortgage when they can no longer pay. Once the social contract is shredded, once the deal is off, only suckers still play by the rules.
http://endoftheamericandream.com/preppers What in the world has happened to the children of America? All over the United States kids are acting like half-crazed monsters, but most people seem to think that this is “normal”. American kids today are selfish, self-centered, sadistic, cruel, disrespectful, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, boastful, unforgiving, incredibly brutal, and they possess very little self-control or respect whatsoever. They feel entitled to everything, but they don’t want to work for any of it. They are absolutely addicted to entertainment, and they know very little about self-sacrifice. Disciplining children is not considered to be “politically correct” in America today, and with each passing year these little hellions get even worse. So what in the world is our country going to look like when all of these out of control kids grow up?
I have seen a video that is likely to make you very, very angry. It is video of two 15-year-old bullies torturing a little 10-year-old boy in the back of a school bus. What makes it even worse is that the boy is a special needs student.
The short video only shows some of the key moments, but the truth is that the bullies physically abused this poor boy for the entire 40 minute bus trip. They constantly used racial and sexual slurs and at one point they held a very hot cigarette lighter against his skin which made him howl in pain.
This video is a perfect example of what is wrong with the kids of America today.
Sadly, this was not an isolated incident.
The truth is that hellish scenes play out on the school buses of America every single day.
In a another video, I saw an incredibly shocking video that showed a group of school kids taunting an elderly school bus monitor so ruthlessly that she broke down in tears.
The video has been viewed more than 8 million times on YouTube
It is time to face reality – American kids are really, really messed up.
This is one of the reasons why I am encouraging parents get involved with their children’s development. I went to public schools all my life, and they were horrible enough back then. I feel really badly for any child that has to endure the hellholes that we call “public schools” today.
Sadly, there are endless examples of how out of control American children are these days.
For example, teens all over America are now playing something called “the knockout game”.
The idea is that you pick out a random stranger on the street and then you see who can run over and knock that person out first.
The following is from an article about one recent incident in Chicago where a group of teens actually killed an elderly man while playing the knockout game
How would you like to be walking down the street one day only to have a group of teens savagely attack you for no reason and try to knock you out?
Something has changed in America.
Our country is becoming very sick and twisted.
Meanwhile, our kids are becoming increasingly stupid at the same time.
For example, according to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.
Sadly, there are many other surveys that have also shown how stupid our kids have become.
Kids today actually aspire to be stupid and act like complete asses. Go to youtube and look for “the biggest douchebag on vines” here you will see a scrawny little white kid acting like he is the biggest badass gangsta / playa in the world. This is what are youth are trying to be? Really? Kill me now please!
The following are some of the absolutely amazing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core….
*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought sometime between 1850 and 1900.
*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.
*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion. (This is a topic that I touched on yesterday).
*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.
Even more shocking were the results of a survey of Oklahoma high school students conducted back in 2009. The following is a list of the questions that were asked and the percentage of students that answered correctly….
What is the supreme law of the land? 28 percent
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26 percent
What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27 percent
How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10 percent
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14 percent
What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61 percent
What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43 percent
We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11 percent
Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent
Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29 percent
Are you surprised by those numbers?
You shouldn’t be.
Anyone that cannot see that there is something fundamentally wrong with American kids these days is being delusional.
Yes, there are exceptions. There are some young people out there today that are absolutely extraordinary.
But overall, the kids of America are a total mess.
Not only are our kids stupid and violent, they are also very sexually active.
In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.
All of that loose sexuality has some very negative consequences.
For example, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet.
Is that something we should be proud of?
In the United States today, one out of every four teen girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease.
And there is no cure for some of those diseases. They can be treated, but they will stay with those girls for the rest of their lives.
Are you ready for some more shocking numbers?
The following statistics are from a survey of teen girls done by Tyra Banks….
- On average, girls are losing their virginity at 15 years of age.
- 14 percent of teens who are having sex say they’re doing it at school.
- 52 percent of survey respondents say they do not use protection when having sex.
- One in three says she fears having a sexually transmitted disease.
- 24 percent of teens with STDs say they still have unprotected sex.
- One in five girls says she wants to be a teen mom.
Not that our boys are doing any better.
In fact, our boys are probably doing even worse than our girls are.
In a Business Insider article they have listed some amazing statistics about boys in America….
-In 2011, young men’s SAT scores were the worst they had been in 40 years.
-Even Hollywood has caught on: films like Failure to Launch, Knocked Up and Jackass mock the ineptitude of this generation.
-Boys account for 70 percent of D’s and F’s given at school.
-Research shows guys aren’t interested in being husbands, fathers or the head of the household.
-Boys are four to five times more likely than girls to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Two-thirds of students in special education programs are guys.
-The average boy spends 13 hours a week playing video games. The average girl spends 5. The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games by age 21. That’s twice the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.
-The average high school boy spends two hours watching porn every week. Men can’t escape porn: 13,500 full-length commercial porn films were released in 2011, compared with 600 Hollywood films.
-Researchers claim that internet pornography is hurting young boys’ ability to form meaningful romantic relationships because they objectify their partner.
-It’s predicted that 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees will go to women by 2016.
After reading all of that, is there still anyone out there that doubts that there is something fundamentally wrong with American kids?
It is so sad to watch what is happening to future generations.
So what is causing all of this?
There are a lot of factors of course, but the breakdown of the family is definitely one of them.
According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.
Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
Our families are weak and they are getting weaker, and our children are suffering.
It is this type of environment that produces monsters such as James Holmes. When the basic building blocks of society break down, people tend to lose it.
Don’t let this happen to your family or to your children. In a world that is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, there is more of a need for love and family than ever before.
So what do all of you think about the behavior of American kids these days?
Even with all of these facts and figures, realistically, the problem with kids and America today is you! You, The American People, allow this stuff to go on without saying a word or trying to stop any of it. So, get pissed at me if it helps for saying the truth. If it helps you feel better about yourself, but in the end, yes, you are to blame!
Want to stop being the one to blame? Then get up off your ass and do something about it!