2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

people-politico-president-barack-obama-debatingThe Presidential Debates have been scheduled and their formats and topics have been chosen for the 2012 Presidential Election season.

I always look forward to these Presidential Debates because we get to see what the candidates are going to say and they are put on the spot, and face to face, with all of the political rhetoric that they have been firing at each other for months. Not only do they have to answer the questions that are presented by the debate moderator they often slip these other counter points into their responses. More often than not it seems to draw the presidential candidates into a more real and genuine response instead of those that are tailored by their publicist.

The Republicans have Mitt Romney as their candidate this year and I really do not feel that he is going to be up to the challenge of truly and honestly competing with President Obama at the podium. These Presidential Debates should be very interesting and unless Mitt Romney begins to truly solidify his platform beyond the catch phrases he is going to be in a world of trouble come these Presidential Debates.

I have discussed these Presidential Debates with many others and they seem to feel that though President Obama will likely dominate the Presidential Debates they are not going to be nearly as interesting as they might have been with Rick Perry or Herman Cain. Both of which have incredibly interesting personalities which may have been far more entertaining. What are your thoughts on these debates?

Regardless of who you are supporting in the upcoming elections it is important to watch these as they should help you forge your opinions come the general election. Mitt Romney is going to have to get studying and practicing for these debates because he is going up against a skilled and seasoned challenger who many agree is a master of debating.

2012 Presidential Debate Information

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the formats for the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates, each of which will be 90-minutes long. Moderators will be selected in August.

  • First presidential debate: October 3, University of Denver, Colorado: Domestic issues, questions selected by moderator.
  • Vice presidential debate: October 11, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky: Domestic and foreign issues, questions selected by moderator.
  • Second presidential debate: October 16, Hofstra University, Hampstead, N.Y.: Town-hall meeting format with questions from undecided voters.
  • Third presidential debate: October 22, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida: Foreign issues, questions selected by moderator.

Make sure to tune and and watch these important debates Presidential Debates. We often get some real insight into what and who these presidential candidates are and what their platforms and plans are for the United States of America for the next four years. Even more importantly, we often see who is not going to be up to the challenge of being the President of the United States.

Political Conspiracy Dooms Us To Failure

people-politico-conspiracy-word-cloud-colorfulPerhaps one of the most invasive and destructive problems with today’s politics is the amazing amount of radical conspiracies that crop up in main stream media. These ludicrous and often hilarious conspiracies should be laughed off, and once would have been. However, they now seem to be easily accepted as truth by everyday people. Our world, our country, and our lives are inundated with problems and troubles of the everyday sort and we should not be wasting our time with convoluted and often outright crazy conspiracy theories. We have enough basic political issues already that don’t need to be further muddied by strange and bizarre conjurations of paranoia.

Now, I understand why conspiracies are so exciting and intriguing–I do. They speak to a fantastical part of our imagination, where wizards, dragons, and the Easter bunny reside. This is a part of our brain that we unfortunately are forced to push aside as we age. We all look back to our childhoods and think about the magic and awe that surrounded these fantasy stories of the unreal. Something in them touches each of us. It sets off something in our brains that allows us to imagine the possibilities.

In some ways this is good. This helps us to use our imagination and inspiration to test our world to see what is really real. Our imagination, and these fantasies can be a useful tool for us to think of possibilities that we otherwise may not consider.

However, if people start to imagine these fantasies could be real, they can begin to haunt us. It’s important to keep reality and critical thinking as our guiding principles. We may convince ourselves that there are monsters under the bed. We might worry ourselves into ulcers. We would design our roofs in completely unreasonable ways to prevent once-a-year reindeer hoof damage.

I think many people want to believe these political conspiracies because they want to think that the people in charge of our government and our country are really, really smart. I think all of us want to have the best, the brightest, and the most altruistic people running our government. Politicians have to be smart to be able to handle the complex issues and stresses that come with political office, right? If they are as smart as we think they should be, it also means that they are smart enough to pull off elaborate conspiracies. That means they can orchestrate political conspiracies that involve decades of planning. They can organize and monitor thousands of people to ensure they don’t tell anyone about the conspiracy.

Conspiracies can make a great novel or movie. But that is about all they are good for. The brutal fact of the matter is that these politicians we hope and pray are so much smarter and better then us aren’t. The real fact is that they are no smarter then anyone else. The difference is, politicians are rich. If you could hire a PR firm to change people’s perceptions of you, then you could seem much smarter, too!

Conspiracies help to give us confidence in our leaders as it attributes a great deal of unwarranted intelligence to them. However, in recent years I have seen little evidence that our politicians are smarter than anyone else. This is the truth that we the people need to understand and believe. The evidence is there and unfortunately our government and the politicians are about the exact opposite of super genius world-dominating supermen. We watch these politicians day in and day out while they attempt to conduct the business of running our government. They are so inept at it that we somehow, miraculously, think that they are actually doing it all on purpose as part of some super secret conspiracy. But they aren’t. They are selfish, narcissistic, greedy, lying people that can’t work together in the most basic sense.

People need to wake up and stop being distracted by these crazy conspiracy stories and ask themselves; “Can [insert crazy conspiracy theory here] be true when our elected and appointed officials cannot even perform the most basic functions of their jobs?” The answer of course, is no.

Conspiracies are based on fantasy instead of reality, and the solutions to our fantasy problems tend to be fantasy solutions. Our leaders need to be looking at the reality of America’s issues and tackling them simply, basically, and up front. We have bogged ourselves down in a political, social, and economic quagmire, and we won’t escape it until the people of America force the politicians, the media, and each other to return to looking at the world with reason and logic. We need to shift the focus to the basic reality of the world around us. We need to use common sense and the intelligence we do possess and put it towards the issues we face. Only then will we be able to improve America again.

Socialism is Not a &!%# Bad Word

people-politico-happy-socialist-peopleIt’s strange how we allow ourselves to be manipulated and convinced that something that is at the very core of humanity is somehow bad, somehow evil. Since the dawn of propaganda, political leaders have been turning innocuous words into words with unsavory connotations. But twisting a word around for your own political purposes, and therefore misleading people about the idea that word represents, just stifles communication.

In this era of sound bites and quick headlines, it seems we have diluted politics and our extremely complicated social and political issues down to labels, and one of those labels is socialism. The trouble is, for me as well as millions of others, socialism isn’t a bad word.

Here’s why.

First, let’s take a look at the actual definition of socialism.

Socialism
A political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles.

So in the most basic sense, socialism is a political system and/or government controlled by the people with equity and fairness as the guiding principle in all decision making.

The problem is, as politicians who have made socialism the boogeyman certainly understand, all the scary things going through your mind as you ponder the word are not true. So let’s bring the big bad boogeyman out of the darkness and take a look at some of the basic principles of socialism, and apply those principles at both a micro and macro level.

We wouldn’t even exist today as a species if we did not have instinctual social and socialist habits. Humans were never the biggest or the strongest of creatures in the animal kingdom. In fact, as far as superior animalistic traits go, we are runts of the animal kingdom in almost every way. One of the most important things that set us apart from the rest of the animals is our intelligence.

Humans are smarter by far than any other creature. This “big brain” of ours figured out, in our early history, that the only way for us to survive is to work together as a social unit, to be socialist, with each member of a social unit helping the others in the unit. Not only did this socialist behavior save our species, it was the driving force behind how incredibly well we have thrived over the long journey of our evolution.

Now down to a closer view, something closer to home: our family structures. We instinctively cling to our families due to this socialist drive to work together for the benefit of the family unit. If we did not have a social nature, we would not have friends, families, or even groups working together for a greater purpose, such as businesses.

When we consider family, friends, and community, the happiest and most successful work together, as a cohesive unit, with each member doing his or her share, and one or more members doing more when necessary:

  • When Dad hurts his back and can’t work, Mom and the older children work a little harder to help pay the bills.
  • When a member of the church or book club who lives alone is diagnosed with cancer, the congregation or her friends bring over food, money, help with housework, and anything else they can do while she battles the disease. Now she can focus on getting better, not just surviving. They each give a little but the patient gets a lot.
  • When a woman gets pregnant, the family pitches in for food, clothes, baby gear, and tons of advice. They will help out after the baby is born, and she can focus on the care and well-being of the baby. The family members have a vested interest in the well-being of the next generation.
  • When a friend loses his job and can’t afford the rent, friends and family may loan him some money until he can get on his feet again. If that isn’t enough, someone will offer a place to stay, to be safe and not worry about where the next meal is coming from.

These are just a few of the socialist things we do, but we don’t call it socialism. We call this being neighborly or simply doing the right thing. We have learned that helping others makes us feel good, and if we help others when they need it, we will get help when we need it. This behavior strengthens the bonds of family and community, and smoothes the ups and downs of life. These supportive behaviors create a feeling of belonging and security, benefiting each member. Not only is this socialist behavior good for us, it is good for our families, neighborhoods, and local communities.

However, when we take from others for ourselves we may benefit ourselves in the short term, but we know we weaken ourselves in the long term. By taking from those around us we ultimately weaken ourselves.

Just imagine the chaos and misery if these ideas of socialism, equity, and fairness were frowned upon and discouraged. If families and communities truly lived by some candidates’ political campaign speeches, it would in fact destroy our family and communities:

  • When Dad hurts his back and can’t work, the family abandons him as so much dead weight. If he can’t bring in any money, what use is he?
  • When an acquaintance gets cancer, it is probably because of something she did wrong. If she survives, it was meant to be. If not, that’s just the way of things.
  • When a woman gets pregnant, that is her problem. If she can’t afford prenatal care or a car seat for the infant, well, she should have thought about that before.
  • When a friend loses his job and can’t afford the rent, his friends tell him he better find a new job quickly, since it’s much harder to look for jobs while homeless.

These scenarios might seem silly, but Republicans have been busy introducing bills to include drug testing requirements before receiving welfare while at the same time baulking at the idea of drug testing for themselves, even though both are paid through taxes. They are also actively and specifically blocking women from access to health care. And the one that takes the cake, this ridiculous obsession with repealing health care reforms that are supported by the majority of Americans. What makes this so amazingly hypocritical is that the majority of the health care reforms were originally conceived by and pushed for by the very party that now opposes them. Look to Senator McCain’s work with First Lady Hillary Clinton during the Clinton administration and the shining example of this health care working, Romneycare.

A Reference Guide to Socialism

A Reference Guide to Socialism

Yet wouldn’t these same politicians help their family members, community members, and friends, if they were to fall upon hard times? A politician’s community is so much bigger; it would seem they would understand the benefits of socialism more than most. After all, they are supposed to be representing the community—understanding the hard times that its members face, and trying to make things better.

What makes the morality of needless suffering so terribly wrong when you are talking about someone you know and love but when you are talking about someone you don’t morally righteous?

The fact is we must have social interaction to be successful; rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, we all benefit from socialism. It has made us who we are today and is the key to our success. We all know this and the idea and practice of socialism can and should be the same at the macro level as well as the micro level.

Socialism is not a bad word; it is the way we progress and the way to success as a nation.

Politics, Presidents, and Patriotism this 4th of July

Happy Birthday AmericaAs the 4th of July comes around again, we are all reminded of our patriotism on this most important holiday for our country, the anniversary of American independence. Celebrating the birthday of our country is important and it is even more important to do so with dignity and respect.

In this year of presidential politics the vitriol, hate, selfishness, and intolerance is at an all time high. This is a recipe for disaster normally, but can be much worse when compounded by alcohol and the hard times so many are having. Keep this in mind as the casual 4th of July political conversations begin at the BBQ’s. Remember that those around you are your friends and family. You should value them, their ideas and their political opinions.

Too often tolerance, cooperation, and comprise have been labeled as flaws, as traits of the weak. In fact these simple traits are some of the keystone ideas to this country, how it was formed and how it has survived to this point. Without these good and decent traits, the founding fathers would never have been able to agree on the Bill of Rights. The Constitution of the United States of America is written with tolerance and acceptance as its guiding principles: That we are all equal and we all have an equal right to our thoughts and opinions. These two documents make up the very foundation of America. America cannot thrive or prosper if we are all focused on our own agenda, wants and needs. We must think of what is good for us, but we must also work hard to see what is best for our country as a whole. Only through selflessness can we hope to see our country truly grow, prosper and flourish.

We must look to each other and help each other gain understanding, trust, and willingness to use these guiding principles in our everyday lives.

We must have tolerance and understanding for the nearly infinite amount of variety and differences in the lives of Americans and non citizens alike. You can do this by taking a moment and try to consider yourself in a similar situation or with a similar dilemma. Would your choice or reaction be the same if it was a stranger versus your mother, daughter, or friend?

We are all Americans and we need to learn to cooperate. Lack of cooperation doesn’t move this country forward. It sticks us all in an endless loop. And while we Americans are chasing our tails, the other nations of this world are pulling out ahead.

Above all, if there is any hope for us to move forward we must cast off the false ideas that compromise is a fault. That it is weakness. That it is giving up. That just simply is not true. For us to have any hope in moving forward and making a better world for ourselves and our children we will have to learn to compromise again. Compromise is when two or more parties agree on a middle ground. So a perfect compromise is when each party of a two-party negotiation gets 50% of what they want. In real compromise the only steps that all parties can agree on are small ones. This is how it should be. We should be making small steps towards progress, without looking back, to make this country better. These giant leaps of legislation, these radical ideological bills need to be greatly muted through real compromise. This can only happen if we make compromise a priority and force our politicians to make real compromise.

This is idealistic I know. And it sounds as if it’s a pipe dream of a fanciful, and unrealistic, thinker. However, this is not fantasy. Politics has been like this before. It’s hard to think that we as Americans are devolving in our politics and in our society. But I believe that is exactly the case right now. Our government barely functions and this paralysis has filtered through our entire country. From the debates about health care reform to the backyard discussions about immigration. Politics has devolved to name calling and bickering with too few now able to seriously, ethically and respectfully discuss the topics of today.

So when you think of the state of America on its official birthday, this 4th of July, make sure that you, and those around you, are sticking to these core principles that can and will guide us into a better and brighter future.

The People Win in Today’s Healthcare Supreme Court Ruling

government-buildingThat’s right the People won today. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not Independents, not your neighbor’s dog, the People. The People of the United States of America won today. Soon we will not have to worry about going bankrupt, having our lives destroyed or even dieing because we can’t afford to care for the disease we get, the cancer that sneaks up on us or a drunk driver in a pickup that runs red lights.

We are not talking about who scored more points today with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The reason we aren’t talking about points today is because the health of Americans and the health of our nation is not a game. It is one of the most serious, troubling and ethical arguments in today’s politics.

There is much to be said, and much will be said on the topic, but for now we are just going to appreciate this small victory that we as a nation are coming closer to healthcare system that takes care of us all.

Here is President Obama’s statement regarding this Supreme Court Ruling.

President Obama Speaks on Health Reform

 

Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Here is the official ruling released by the Supreme Court of the United States

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

In Debt or Indentured Part Nine: All the Issues

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: All the IssuesThis is the ninth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: All the Issues

With all of these issues hitting the American middle class, it can be easily seen how people can become distracted from looking at the big picture since the picture becomes so blurred through media and politics. There is also the amount of work Americans do, they are left with little time to invest in looking into the politicians that they elect. President George W. Bush said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha on February 4, 2005 “You work three jobs?  … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that”. This should not be uniquely American to expect people to work three jobs and still barely get by. Not to mention, how much money does this struggling woman have to pay out of her three jobs to have her children looked after so she can work more? This is also an example of how politicians on both sides of the aisle think that Americans hard work is endless, yet the middle class does not demand change.

Is it audacious to think that the America middle class would demand remotely close the subsidies and tax breaks that industries and the wealthy receive currently from the government or be bailout by the government in the middle class’ time of need? The American middle class worker barely has time to demand more than a thirty second sound-bite from the politician that they will vote for…if they vote at all. A tactical attempt has been made by those in the echelons power within the United States to divide the middle class and ensure that they are more focused on surviving day to day, paying their debt, and living in fear than being able to see through the smoke filled barrage of sound clips and view the entire picture. Not able to see or feel powerless to change a government that is not serving them. The American middle class must find the time to challenge the status quo and demand tangible changes that would directly better middle class families’ everyday lives. To this point, instead of looking at the turmoil that middle class is experiencing, the American middle class is told they should not look for handouts from the government and they should take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (even though the entire financial system was bailed out to the tune of over a trillion dollars). The middle class instead is encouraged to spend more, even if that means going further into debt. An example of this was reported by Time Magazine’s Justin Fox (Editorial director of Harvard Business Review Group and author) in 2009 about statements made by then President George W. Bush directly following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks where President Bush stated, “Take your families and enjoy life, the way you want to be enjoyed.” Fox goes on to quote Boston University Historian Andrew Bacevich in his conclusion that “Bush seems to have calculated – cynically but correctly – that prolonging the credit fueled consumer binge could help keep complaints about his performance as Commander in Chief from becoming more than a nuisance.” Politicians, Democrat and Republican, will put their own aspirations ahead of those of the country unless a conscious society, predominately made up of the middle class as the majority within America, is willing to hold them accountable for their actions and words.

Common ground must be found by all American middle class indentured servants in order to free themselves from the this unjust system that has been built to keep the middle class in perpetual debt and fear. The American middle class must put partisanship aside in a time when it has been developed to a fever pitch. Democrats and Republicans cannot look in hate towards their fellow middle class worker trying to survive just as they are. It is time to rise up and demand a change within this country, a time to retire the debt that has burdened on their backs and buried a generation. If common ground cannot be found in the form of the self preservation of the middle class and the redefining of what the American Dream consists of, there may be no hope for this experiment with a middle class in America. But if common can be found and the political muscle of the American middle class can be flexed politically to demand changes that will help them directly in the form of debt relief, tax relief, living wages, educational equality and affordability, common belief that health is a right and not a privilege, and that fear can no longer be a tool used to control the middle class. If this type of unity can be found and the political will demonstrated by the middle class, there can be a redistribution of power in this country and the United States of America will return to a nation governed for the people by the people.

In Debt or Indentured Part Eight: Single Issue Voting

People Politico In Debt or Indentured Single Issue VotingThis is the eighth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Single Issue Voting

Another reason that the middle class has not unified to demand change from the government and subsequently their employers is that the American middle class has allowed their voices to be divided on the basis of single issues. These types of social issues have dominated American politics starting in the 1980’s with efforts to mitigate the effects of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. The two major American political parties took strong positions supporting and denouncing legalized abortion in America. Through time there have been litanies of new social issues that have been added to the table to assist in dividing the middle class vote and creating a new type of voter. This new voter will vote on a single issue instead of demanding platforms that address their own personal issues that are affecting their everyday life instead of one single issue that the my only care about because of religious or personal convictions. Some of the issues that currently stifle America middle class voices are: abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, euthanasia, gun control, and illegal immigration. The interesting thing about single issues or wedge issues is that when either party is in control of congress and The White House, little to nothing is done to change the issue. On the face it appears that there is a lack of political will to tackle such monumental social issues, but politicians on both sides ran with those issues central to their platforms.

There are many example of the bait-and-switch of wedge issues by both Democrats and Republicans. One for the Republican’s took place while controlling all of congress and The White House from 2003 through 2007. Almost every elected Republican took a stance in their run for office to work towards the limitation of abortion. Yet during this time period of Republican control, little to nothing was changed to limit abortion in America. This was done even though this wedge issue was used by most Republicans to motivate voters that saw this as a single issue to vote for. The Democrats did the same thing with stem cell research and gay marriage when controlling congress and the presidency from 2009 to 2011. This is sometimes referred to in political communities as pandering to the base or telling the base of the party what they want to hear. Once elected these politicians do not make it a priority to do anything about the issue until close to another election. This maneuver ensures a constant block of voters (mostly middle class) that will come out to vote for their party because the voter cares about this sole issue. This was seen with gay marriage and abortion in the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004 between then President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry and again in the 2008 election between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. Even now in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Elections, the sound of pandering to single issue voters are being displayed by both Former-Governor Romney and President Obama.

Middle Class Divided

The division of the American middle class is important to both major political parties which have unlimited funds now available to them through the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that classes corporations as individuals protected by freedom of speech through the form of political contributions to individual candidates as protected speech, this reported by Adam Liptak for the New York Times in his article titled, “Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit.” This decision now entitles corporations to spend as much as they like on political contributions to individual candidates (Liptak).  The dissenting Supreme Court justices warn, “allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy” (Liptak). This ruling allows corporations to act as individuals in order further influence elections through money. All though as a corporation it will not be able to vote in that very same election since it is not a person or a citizen.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Seven: The Power of the Middle Class

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle ClassThis is the seventh part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle Class

The indentured middle class could look to the strong and cohesive group of Americans that have been able to establish Social Security as the third rail of American politics. Both Republicans and Democrats refuse to substantially change this very popular program for seniors since they have come together and will punish a politician of either party if they work against this program. This power comes through seniors vote in large numbers and they ensure that their representation understands that Social Security and Medicaid are widely popular programs for them and it should not be tampered with. But after elections, these same seniors stay involved by reaching out and reminding their representatives how important this is to them. In 2008’s presidential election, the forty-five to sixty-five year old voting block voted at a rate of sixty-nine percent. Voters aged eighteen to twenty-four year olds were now at only forty-nine percent as reported by Thom File and Sarah Crissey in a U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and U.S. Census Bureau report titled “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008.” It can stand to reason that politicians are not as concerned with the cost of higher education and the cost being incurred by young Americans that do not vote in the same numbers as seniors and will not hound them after the elections to help them. Since young people and many middle class voters do not invest the time to demand a change in their government, their government does not take time to look out for their interest either.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Six: The Middle Class

People Politico In Debt Or Indentured: The Middle ClassThis is the sixth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: The Middle Class

The American middle class has evolved from a powerful voting block with a determination to succeed, advance their prosperity, and their posterity; into a class of Americans controlled by debt. Debt and fear has become the reasons middle class Americans continue to stay in dead end jobs, constantly going to work hoping that they can keep their job for another day. They will lose everything if they cannot keep their job. Worse yet, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans that will continue to work in a job because of their health and without their job, they will lose their health insurance and again will lose everything. The American middle class has allowed themselves to slip into a state of indentured servitude where they have become subservient and endowed to the corporations wielding the power in the United States.

Indentured servants are not a new idea in America as they were the forerunners of slavery in the South where the few possessed the majority of the wealth and land. These English land owners needed workers to cultivate the cash crop tobacco. England had a large population of poor living in filthy conditions on the streets in almost every city. The British government worked with the American colonist landowners to create incentives for people to have their travel paid for, room and board cared for upon their arrival in America, and all in exchange for working off the debt that was accumulated through manual labor on plantations. This was the start of an American dream. During this time period, there was very little land that could be acquired in England. If the indentured servants were able to repay their debt through their labor, the English government declared that they would be rewarded with land in the Americas. Thousands of English and Scots signed-up for the opportunity. Very few, however, were able to complete their servitude, with landowners changing contracts to ensure that the debt could never be repaid. The outbreaks of disease also added to their debt as payment was needed for medication or doctors to help them. The indenture servants were also working to gain land, which as a land owner entitled them to vote and be involved politically. For the few that were fortunate enough to survive through their servitude and looked to be a landowner, the English government decided that this land was proving valuable and declared that they could not give the land to the mere servants. This lead to an indentured servant revolt that was successful enough to take control of the Carolina Colony governor’s residences. This victory was short lived and afterwards the plantation owners began to look for workers at they could hold with even less rights…slaves.

The American middle class carries many similarities with the indentured servants of colonial America. The American middle class is in a state of indentured servitude where they cannot escape from the debt that they have acquired. Just like their forefathers and foremothers who came as indentured servants to this country to follow their American Dream, this generation of middle class Americans are being required to work under fewer and fewer protections both from their employer and government. As well, this class of American indentured servants is without a voice in their government. Though the American middle class has the right to vote, it is not used to its potential to radically demand change. The middle class does not seem to carry the will to sustain pressure on their representative to work help workers in taking on the behemoths of society. The rules continue to change in favor of big business and the indentured servants’ voice is stymied again. The American middle class has developed laryngitis and has lost its voice in demanding social change.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Five: Mortgaging The American Dream

People Politico In Debt Or Indentured Mortgaging The American DreamThis is the fifth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Mortgaging The American Dream

The American middle class has been sold an American Dream built on a foundation of debt, that encourages more debt, looks to remove the negative stigma of debt, so more and more Americans will be lolled into its promises of have it now and paying later. Unfortunately, the pay later has emerged through time to mean pay, continue to pay, and acquire more debt while paying more towards the debt already acquired. This in turn has created a middle class caught in a revolving circle that requires to constant income to support their debt and to have further credit they must also have constant income. This on its face value does not sound outrageous, but there is another factor that has become the key ingredient in transforming this seemingly symbiotic relationship the middle class has developed with debt. This ingredient has transformed the middle classes relationship with debt into a parasitic one. That key ingredient is fear. Fear of being jobless. Fear of being without health insurance. Fear of being unable to pay the debts. Fear of for the children’s future. Fear of not being able to keep up with the Jones’s.

Throughout the 1980s through the 2000’s the policy of Trickle Down Economics yielded no improvement for the American’s working class but it saw the richest Americans take much more of the slice of American wealth. The argument for lowered taxes on the top 1% is that this will lead to job creation through investment but the data does not support this. Professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz G. William Domhoff explains in his article “Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power.” Domhoff contends, “In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands.” In America today only fifteen percent of the country’s wealth is held by bottom eighty percent of workers (Domhoff). What is even more surprising is how few Americans seem to understand that there is a consolidation of wealth in America. Domhoff describes a Norton & Ariely 2010 study that ask over fifty-five hundred people to describe what they to be “the ideal wealth distribution” and a large consensus described a distribution “which the top 20% owned between 30 and 40 percent of the privately held wealth,” this being well outside of “the 85 percent that the top 20% actually own.” Domhoff continues the misconception of wealth distribution by surmising that those surveyed also believe “the bottom 40% — that’s 120 million Americans — should have between 25% and 30%” of the wealth ideally but believed that this bottom forty percent have “8% to 10%” which is “far above the 0.3% they actually had.” The information in this survey demonstrates how Americans have established an idea of how wealth is held in America but this idea is not reflected in the reality of power and wealth in America.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6