Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Unified Theory of Failure

Is there anyone out there, even in the farthest reaches of the nation, who still thinks we’re not in trouble? No? Good. This is a step in the right direction, as is—finally, what in the world took you people so long?—the mobilization of a youth that see its future jeopardized by the incredibly rapacious plutocracy that presently rules us.

We, as a nation and as a planet, are on the verge of catastrophic failure. Giving our present situation no more than a cursory glance, here are a few facts worth noting.

  • We are bankrupting the middle class, traditionally the backbone and savior of any society.
  • We are cheating our children’s generations out of their future in order to finance our short-term comforts.
  • The CEOs of some failing financial firms that are bankrupting the country are getting merit bonuses that range in the tens of millions of dollars.
  • We are allowing a new generation to become disassociated from itself, incapable of communicating thoughts longer than a few syllables, and happier in front of a television or computer screen than on a field of play.  
  • The infrastructure of our nation—roads, bridges, ports, the electrical grid, river, dams and even our nuclear reactors—is crumbling.
  • We have been in a constant state of war for more than half a century. We are spending trillions on arms that do not work, shields that fail to protect our warriors, and overseas adventures that both impoverish and lower us in the eyes of the international community.
  • We have wasted billions of dollars on a fruitless war of interdiction against drugs. Addiction rates are higher now than ever as illegal drugs grow deadlier and more potent.
  • We are killing the planet upon which we depend, denuding it of forest, destroying its sea life, harvesting its greenscape and depleting its aquifer.
  • We, on a national, state, local and personal level, are being crushed by debt even as we strive to buy and spend more.
  • We trust the untrustworthy with our savings, accept the unacceptable from our representatives, and have become generally so uninterested in our own future that we continue to re-elect the thieves and malingerers who, through their incompetence, have led us to our sorry present state.
  • We have created a welfare class of small farmers and dairymen.
  • We are so resistant to change that new social programs meet with instant failure. We are guilty of contempt prior to investigation.
  • We are the most murderous nation in the First World thanks to our inability to control firearm purchases. Additionally, our lack of gun control is poisoning neighboring nations.
  • We are paving the nation with an impermeable layer of asphalt that does not allow the soil to replenish itself with water. We are polluting the waterways with so many estrogens that marine life is mutating. We are allowing non-native species of plants, animals and other species to procreate and invade.  
  • One in ten of us is unemployed and we are losing our homes to the banks. Another ten percent is under-employed.
  • Our jails and prisons house mostly non-violent criminals, with a high percentage being citizens guilty of minor drug-related possession.
  • Our health is diminishing. We eat crap, become obese, suffer from a variety of ailments ranging from diabetes to heart failure, all the while allowing millions of citizens to endure life with no health insurance or safety net.

In a recent Washington Post op-ed piece, Harold Meyerson noted that while “European CEOs might make 11 times as much as their workers, American CEOs make roughly 200 to 300 times as much as their average employees’ salary.” This is called greed, in its most basic form. While the CEOs salaries skyrocket, those of the average workers are essentially flat.  In fact, for perhaps the first time in American history, a son’s salary will approximate that of his father’s. This means that the country is no longer growing, and that the merit-based entitlements that made the US the powerhouse it once was, well, those are gone too. 

The behavior of the country’s corporate leaders would make robber barons of a century ago blush and the truth is, we deserve better as individuals, as a nation, and as communities that across the country struggle to survive. As the national elections approach, the question of greed should be on everyone’s lips. Because greed is killing us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment