Friday, April 12, 2013

President Obama's Chained CPI Support & Why it Proves our Republic is Lost

Disagreement with President Obama's support of cuts to Social Security via the Chained CPI has been flooding my Twitter feed this week. The contempt hasn't only come from those on the left either, as even Bill O'Reilly questioned the logic of the Chained CPI. The comment made by O'Reilly on his show earlier this week highlights the disconnected - or completely  inconsiderate - relationship the plutocratic status quo shares with the general populace. In witnessing all of the contempt at the President's move on this matter, I could not help but recall what can now be considered a prophetic bit by my favorite comedian of all time, George Carlin.

Carlin's ability to make us laugh at the horrible truths of our social and political systems was truly a gift. In making the connection between the Chained CPI debate and these words of wisdom, I am left, as usual, wondering just what the hell it will take for the people in this country to say enough is enough. The veil has long been lifted but yet too many people who hold genuine love for country and passion for being actively engaged in the politics of a representative democracy continue to play by the rules established by the very assholes working 24/7 to make that very representative democracy defunct. As a matter of fact, the following TED presentation by Lawrence Lessig suggests that the republic is already lost.

Given the facts presented by Lessig, the republic has indeed already been lost to the financial interests of those in the plutocratic elite. The very functioning of our government has been corrupted by, as Carlin puts it, assholes who "don't give a fuck" about any of us. This is why people should not be surprised by President Obama's support of Chained CPI cuts to Social Security - or his expansion of Bush era War on Terror programs and policies, refusal to prosecute those on Wall Street responsible for the 2008 crash, etc. He doesn't give a fuck about you. He's doing his job as a political puppet of the Lesters of America and doing it very well. Sure, he tosses his base a bone here and there like repealing DADT and coming out in support of gay marriage. He does good lip service to a lot of stuff they care about. That's part of the role. So, my question for those of you still prioritizing partisan issues that play right into the false left-right paradigm designed by the camouflage of the Lesters over this corruption of the very functioning of our government, is what in the HELL are you waiting for?!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Casualties of Debt – Selling America’s Students to the Banks

Waking Times  |  March 20, 2013
In today’s America, debt is a regular part of life. It drives our economy and enables our culture. Due to the expense of higher education, rising cost of living, consumerism, and the ongoing dollar crisis, it is becoming evermore difficult to live in the United States without accruing considerable personal debt. Especially so for college students. 
For our young adults, the American dream of prosperity has regressed to a new tradition of being unemployed or overworked, and buried under a growing mound of debt.
Higher Education Trains Us for Financial Enslavement
America has always prided itself in the quality of its institutions of higher education. Today, however, the college experience is vastly different than it was just a short 50 years ago. Students come to college un-prepared for study and for life, and, are more often than not, unable to cover the cost of a college education without taking financial aid in the form of government, bank, and personal loans. All the while depending on credit cards for the necessities of college life.
Attending college leaves 2/3rds of college graduates in serious debt before they even enter the workforce. In 2011, this debt was to the tune of $26,600 on average, up 5% from 2010, with some of the increase said to have been caused by an increase in the accessibility of financial aid to students. Out of the approximately 37 million outstanding school loan borrowers in mid 2012 (that’s 12% of the US population), over 1/3 of these are under the age of 30 and, stunningly, about 18% are over the age of 50. (Sources: CNN and American Student Assistance)
The status quo for today’s young adult is to go straight into college after graduating from high school, spend huge sums of borrowed money, then graduate having to immediately find a job that pays enough to live and pay down this debt. As it is, a mere 56% of students enrolled in a 4-year program receive a degree within six years of enrollment. (Source: College@Home) The opportunity for self-exploration, travel, and personal growth is difficult to come by in this model, leaving many people unfulfilled before life even really gets going.
Institutions that offer school loans continue to offer more financial aid to a wider demographic of students, under the guise of non-discrimination and opportunity. In other words, there is push by lenders into to new markets for selling the dream of professional success. As a result, 2/3 of graduates begin a life of debt service before they’ve even received their diploma.
This is a recipe for creating a social class of indentured wage slaves, not for developing a nation of capable, creative, and happy people. America’s youth has been sold into an insidious new form of economic slavery.
Life After College
Getting a job out of college has never been more difficult. Once working, many graduates, even the ones with good-paying jobs, aren’t necessarily successful because they are personally unhappy – even depressed – and as a result, some researchers say that Americans will change careers up to 7 times in their lifetime! (Source: Wall Street Journal) Others indicate that more than half of job openings in the US are filled by people starting a new occupation or entering a new industry. (Source: Huffington Post)
A tough job market often means that you go where the jobs are – the trendy and fun metropolitan areas where the money is. Meaning expensive, and as an independent adult, you are faced with the reality of the rising cost of living in most major US cities. In February 2011, the US Department of Labor reported that the cost of living for Americans hit an all-time high, with no sign of relief in sight. Heaven forbid you decide to marry, have a child and take on the expense of daycare.
High living costs, reinforced by a very slow increase in income gains, have resulted in America, once the land of opportunity, becoming the land of stagnant wages and unsustainable debt. By the end of 2011, many two-income American households were at a risk of not being able to afford their basic essentials, such as food, medical care and utilities. (Source: Huffington Post)
Consumer Culture In Search of Fulfillment
This picture of personal financial wreckage, overspending, and living beyond one’s means, is the prevailing under-current of the cultural dynamic in the US. We have totally submitted to our desire for luxury goods, new cars (fixing the old cars is so darn expensive; just lease a new one), the newest electronics (you already have an iPhone…but the new iPhone 5 will make you just SO much cooler around your friends), bigger houses (it is against building codes to build homes below a certain size, with new homes averaging around 2100 square feet), and on, and on.
Where do we get the money for all of these possessions? Credit cards and bank loans! In the name of stimulating the economy, and under the parody of financial freedom, our culture now creates consumers, not citizens. “For everything else, there’s mastercard!”